Jessica Alba is hot…
(And that’s pretty much the only positive thing I have to say about this movie.)
My Rating: 2/5 Stars
Years after the mass suicide of a cult, the only surviving member returns with a documentary crew to find the lost footage of the tragedy and days leading up to it.
Sure, this concept sounds interesting, right?… Here’s why it’s not.
Have you ever heard of Jim Jones, The People’s Temple, The Jonestown massacre? You know, “Don’t drink the koolaid?” Have you ever heard of the Heaven’s Gate cult? Boy, did they love their Nike’s.
Well, hold onto your butts, because (director) Phil Joanou and (writer) Robert Ben Garant smashed these two concepts together, with a hint of extra stupid crazy, and the final result was crap. A huge plate of steaming crap.
The cult in “The Veil” is known as “Heaven’s Veil” and lead by a man named “Jim Jacobs.” Okay, let’s pause for a moment. Let that sink in.
As a person who is knowledgeable about cults, serial killers, and general tragedies, like a lot of horror fans are, this was so comical that I couldn’t move past it. Every time “Jim Jacobs” was featured he was dressed exactly like Jim Jones and spoke just like Charles Manson. It’s as if they couldn’t decide on which concept to rip off, so they chose all of them! Good on ya, guys!
Additionally, why even reference The Heaven’s Gate Cult? There was no aspect of Heaven’s Gate in the movie at all, other than the cult’s name. “Heaven’s Veil” was entirely a reinterpretation of the Jonestown/People’s Temple cult. Needless to say, this equally confused and frustrated me.
Let’s move onto my next issue, the look of the film.
The entire movie is edited with a cheap and heavy grey/blue filter that, in my opinion, ruins just about every movie it’s ever been used it on. It sort of makes you feel like you’re in a bad dream, because you can clearly see that the sun is shining, but everything is still blue and grey. I concluded that the crew must have said, “Cinematography? Pfft, that’s for the birds! We’ll fix it in post.”
Natural lighting, guys. Come on, it does wonders! And you know why? Because it feels real. It feels like you’re there in the movie. It makes everything so much more relatable.
Lighting is something that can be easily looked over, but it has the power to set apart a great movie from just a decent movie. (Imagine if The Shining, The Godfather, Deer Hunter, or A Serbian Film had a cheap grey/blue filter the entire time! They wouldn’t be the same movies, would they?)
Then, the group watches “old” footage from the Heaven’s Veil cult that they find inside the (amazingly) untouched location. Somehow, miraculously, the old footage appears to be shot in HD!
…Girrrrl, we all know first hand how easy it is to throw a grainy filter on a video. If half naked teenage girls can do it on their iPhones, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to assume you have more filters available than the sh*t one that’s used on the rest of the movie. Get. It. Together.
With these, seemingly, small irritants of the movie, I was unable to find anything remotely charming or intelligent about it. Even the “spin” they tried to give the Heaven’s Veil cult I found lacking. All of the unique and original aspects they tried to mix into the film fell flat.
I can say a few positive things, because I consider myself a nice person… the acting is okay, the sets were decent, parts of this were kind of entertaining. Unfortunately, that’s not all it takes to make a good film.
(Also, I would like to note that if you want to see something similar to this that’s actually scary, all of the original MSNBC Jonestown footage exists. If you don’t know what this is, an MSNBC documentary crew visited the People’s Temple and captured the decline of the cult, including it’s final moments. All it takes is a google search to find the documentary. Good luck.)