HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, January 24, 2019

THE GOLEM (2018) -- Movie Review by Porfle

I've never seen the original "Golem" movies of the silent era, but I do recall the tall, hulking figure of Paul Wegener with his forboding stance and scowling face.

So it's interesting to see the character as a creepy little boy, as in brothers Doron and Yoav Paz's very dark, very atmospheric horror tale THE GOLEM (2018).

It's a concept which works quite well indeed.  In this telling of the old Jewish legend, a remote 17-century village in Lithuania is beseiged by vengeful outsiders who blame them for the plague which has devastated their own village.

The leader of the outsiders renders an ultimatim--either the Jewish medicine woman Perla (Brynie Furstenberg) saves his sick daughter's life, or he and his men will kill them all and burn their village to the ground.

Hanna (Hani Furstenberg), who has been trying in vain to conceive a child with husband Benjamin (Ishai Golan) after the death of their son years before, uses her knowledge of the Kabbalah and its deepest, most secret passages to create a Golem, a supernatural protector, to save them from the outsiders.

Taking the form of her dead son, it strikes back at the marauders, only to become a deadly threat also to Hanna's own people including her husband.

This is one beautifully dark and richly rendered movie that I can only describe as "Jewish Gothic."  The period atmosphere and overall feeling of Old World antiquity are fully realized and quite impressive.

The intense and unpredictable presence of the Golem, a monster in the form of a little boy yearning for Hanna's love and acceptance, remains morbidly fascinating throughout.

A confrontation occurs when Benjamin and his men finally clash with the outsiders against the wishes of the village rabbi, which is when the Golem first wields his power in a shocking, bloody scene.

Once the cycle of violence is set into motion, we're kept on edge wondering how far it will go not just for the outsiders but against fellow villagers when the term "double-edged sword" comes fully into play.

The Paz brothers direct it all with exquisite visual style, contrasting the old-style storytelling with sudden bursts of gore until the film's finale brings out the full horror of the situation.

THE GOLEM doesn't try to terrify or turn our stomachs, but it keeps us on edge with pure, earthy weirdness and some genuine dead-of-night chills.  It's one of the most interesting and original horror films I've seen in a while, and well worth delving into for those who like to take an occasional creep through the dark side.

THE GOLEM opens in Los Angeles on Friday, February 1 and on VOD, DVD & Blu-ray Tuesday, February 5


No comments: