The Veil movie full length review - sort of a mess
I was a little surprised to see another movie based on the Jim Jones massacre after watching The Sacrament recently. This movie takes a strangely supernatural approach to the subject matter, which could be a decent idea. However, the movie gradually falls apart the longer it goes on.
The first misstep is the photography. I've seen this trend toward using washed out colors in horror movies, and every time I see it, I hate it a little more. I want to see what happens. I don't want to spend my time trying to figure out what I'm looking at. The approach comes across like a muddy black-and-white picture with very low contrast. Mix this with mostly dark interiors and exteriors, a bit of shaky-cam, and I have no clue why I'm still watching.
Then the story gets going. A documentary crew arrives at the compound where a cult committed mass suicide during the 80s. The crew has a guest - the one survivor of that mass suicide, who doesn't remember anything. Until, of course, she does.
A bunch of stuff happens, involving people moving around inside and outside a house. Ghosts are involved, and some sort of possession. All of this is a dull slog, since it's hard to care about it if you can't understand what you're watching. Mostly interchangeable characters also make this hard to follow.
The one saving grace that the movie has is the flashback scenes, which we get to watch in the form of videos that the crew watches. There are a few questions I have about this. Why are they using a projector when there are VHS tapes? When we go into watching one of these movies, how are these nicely edited with multiple camera angles? This is supposed to be a found-footage portion of the story, but it's actually better than the rest of the movie. At least, it seems that way because it's got better lighting than the rest of it.
The twist to the story is that the cult was actually right. They had found some path to immortality of the soul (or something like that). They were in the process of going through the last step when the police arrived and interrupted it, ensuring that everyone would die.
Why did the police arrive then?
The logistical and plot problems of the story aren't the biggest offense. What bothered me the most was how the story effectively tries to give credibility to Jim Jones. It sucks all of the horror out of these charismatic leaders that persuade (and force) people to do their bidding, and exchanges that for a cartoonish ghost villain.
In summary, this movie took a premise that was legitimately scary, then tried to justify the real horrors, then turned the source of that horror into a misunderstood ghost.
Nothing scary in it. Mostly boring, but also sort of puzzling. I have the feeling that the twist was so central in the writer's mind that he never considered if it was a good idea or not.