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.
Although it sounds like the perfect setup for another found footage movie, and in a way it is, The Veil feels more like a docudrama. The film follows two separate stories that slowly converge into one; the Mass suicide of the cult of Heaven’s Veil Ranch and the documentary crew intent on uncovering the mysteries of what transpired that day. Jessica Alba and Lily Rabe take on the roles of Maggie Price and Sarah Hope; two women whose pasts were irreversibly changed by the events of Heaven’s Veil and who are now finally searching for the truth.
The truth that the viewers uncover is that this is a very predictable movie. Painfully so. There was very little that was unique, original, or even scary about this flick. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a bad film though. On the contrary, it was actually rather enjoyable, as long as you go into the movie with little in the way of expectations.
I’ve had a crush on Jessica Alba since Idle Hands and the pool scene from Dark Angel, and while she’s pretty to look at, she isn’t exactly going to be walking away with an Oscar anytime soon. Rabe was cast (or typecast) due to her success on A.H.S. and for pretty good reason. She did well in that her character, Sarah, was the broken and troubled mess she was supposed to be, although there really wasn’t much development in terms of progression. By the film’s conclusion she seemed more melancholy than anything else. I also disliked how Lily Rabe’s character, “Sarah Hope” claims that she didn’t know her real name and that the hospital named her Sarah. Later, we find out that her name is in fact Sarah as the found footage films of Heaven’s Veil Ranch refer to her by the same name. Not sure if this is an oversight or a mistake of some sort.
On the plus side, I found Thomas Jane outstanding in his portrayal of the cult leader Jim Jacobs. One could argue that his character was overacted and excessive, but I personally found his portrayal to be near perfect. He really wore the mantle of madness that is necessary for these cult creating narcissists. They are often larger than life figures and I felt Jane really went for it; blending that 70’s suave with a southern preacher’s passion. In retrospect, I found the flashback scenes to be the most entertaining part of the movie.
An inescapable oddity was the colorization used in the movie. The colors are extremely saturated to the point that it feels almost like it was filmed in black, white and green. Sometimes different hue and saturation levels
are used to let the viewer know they are jumping to different time frames within the movie, but that did not seem to be the case with The Veil; someone just really liked pale green.
As predictable as the movie is, it managed to tell its story at a decent pace, but a couple of early jump scares somewhat took away from the suspense that the film was trying to build. It felt like a horror movie that didn’t quite know how to scare its audience. The movie apparently went though a string of changes pre-production, which probably had a lot to do with why it turned out the way it did.
All in all, not a bad flick. It has a lot of entertainment value but is hardly memorable. Good for an evening if you’ve got nothing better to watch.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.