Twenty-five years after members of a religious cult committed mass suicide, the lone survivor returns to the scene of the tragedy with a documentary crew in tow.
Take a deep breath, surprisingly this is NOT a found footage movie. With that said, I almost wish that it was. What it is, instead, is a combination of found footage elements and traditional narrative film making. Here’s the problem: the two do not mix well, and create a bit of a mess. I understand the desire to combine the two, but it just doesn’t work, and you get a movie like The Veil.
Perhaps the most bizarre part of the movie are the writer and director. Phil Joanou helmed the piece, and this is the man responsible for that Punisher short that everyone liked, the Dwanye Johnson vehicle Gridiron Gang, and 3 U2 documentaries, while the script was penned by Robert Ben Garant, who wrote Hell Baby, and A Night At The Museum 2 when he wasn’t starring in Reno 911. These forces came together to make an ultimately bland mess of a horror film.
The movie stars Jessica Alba (Sin City), Thomas Jane (The Punisher), and Lily Rabe (American Horror Story) along with a loveable cast of dead-meat characters, as they head to the site of what is basically Jonestown (without calling it Jonestown). Once they are here, a weird mixture of horror cliches, jump scares, and lazy tropes lead to their deaths. Spoiler alert, I guess. The performances are fine, everyone brings about as much as they can to this particular script, but all in all the “star power” on show here isn’t enough to save it.
The main story, of Alba and her team headed back to the site of the massacre, is edited to be dark, high contrast, however the rest of the film isn’t edited to match that. At one point, when looking at photos taken of their campsite, the photos are clearly of the real environment and they clash massively with the look of the film. I understand stylistic choices of editing, and wouldn’t even begrudge them that if it all matched up. However, they different parts of the film clash so much that it almost feels like two movies crammed together, cobbled together with fair-ground haunted house level scares.
The scary moments have no cohesion, they simply exist to give you a jolt and to make you feel like this movie is scary, which it really isn’t. The movie also includes a lot of “watching the tapes we found in the spooky house”, and those really don’t worth either. It seems like The Veil can’t decide what movie it wants to be, and that really hurts it more than anything else.
All in all this really doesn’t work. The story is a mess and flies all over the place, and it feels more like a “Yeah whatever, bro, let’s make a scary movie. People will eat up any old shit in that genre”, than anything else. I really hope 2016 picks up from here, but it’s hard to feel too optimistic.
My Rating: **