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The Veil(2016)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Phil Joanou

Jessica Alba/Maggie
Lily Rabe/Sarah
Thomas Jane/Jim
Aleksa Palladino/Karen
5 10
A documentary crew hits the location of a mass suicide perpetuated by a religious cult years ago. And they brought the sole survivor (Lily Rabe) along with them! Things go bump in the night, they make dumb decisions and shite gets ugly!

Blumhouse seems to have two camps when it comes to their films. The ones that they have faith in and give the big PNA treatment to (like THE PURGE and the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies) and the ones they don’t care for and sweep under the rug with little to no fanfare. THE VEIL (WATCH IT HERE), much like Blumhouse's CURVE, falls in the latter group and now that I’ve tapped its derriere dry, I understand why. It’s a tad of a shame taking into account the talent behind the film!

I mean it was directed by ace Phil Joanou who was behind such gems as Three O'Clock High (1997), the Irish mob masterpiece State of Grace (1990), the fun Hitchcock inspired Final Analysis (1992), Heaven's Prisoners (1996) and the bad ass The Punisher short Dirty Laundry (2012). The dude ain’t no hack! Moreover, the flick was written by RENO 911 alumni Robert Ben Garant who also penned the decent JESSABELLE for Blumhouse and the upcoming BAYWATCH movie. Finally this baby had affable leads in JESSICA ALBA, THOMAS JANE and AMERICAN HORROR STORY star LILY RABE. So what went wrong? More on that below lets focus on what went right first! Obviously inspired by Cult leader JIM JONES and the mass suicide that went down in 1978 at the People's Temple Cult, for the first half of the movie or so, THE VEIL had me by the balls! The narrative progression was absorbing as we followed two story-lines evolve at the same time. What happened in the past (via old films and videotapes of the Cult's journey to a new spiritual level – my fav parts of the film to be honest) and what is going down in the present i.e. the documentary crew and lone survivor setting up, looking for answers and getting spooked at the Cult’s old stomping grounds. The film sported lots of novel ideas and when they worked, they did with gusto.

On an aesthetic standpoint this was one sexy beeyatch! I dug the washed out look, the stellar camera moves and stylish shot compositions. Tension was on hand as well and they got me real good with one boo scare that made me jump so high - I almost cracked my celiling. Well played!  Acting wise JESSICA ALBA was able in a somewhat “ho hum” role, LILY GABE had more meat to chew on in terms of her part and delivered 100% but at the end of the neck-snap this was THOMAS JANE’s show through and through. Wow, talk about a transfixing performance! Word has it that Jane went all-in for the role. He re-worked his character and changed most of his dialogue to fit what he was going for. Well... that worked! I Jane was beyond immersed in the part and the screen simply burst into flames every time he surfaced! KUDOS!

Alas the movie had lots of cracks in its foundation.The side characters were gratingly underdeveloped/interchangeable and disposable. They had VICTIM stamped on their forehead and that was pretty much it. And once the action in the present started to be more frequent than the action in the past, things started to go to shit. The chain of events felt rushed pass the halfway mark. I heard that the project started off as a found footage movie, but then became a straightforward affair but with the same amount of shooting days. By result, Joanou didn’t wind up having the time he needed to shoot the film comfortably (straight filmmaking is more intricate than the found footage way). And it showed! I kept thinking "Did they run out of time or/and money?" 40 minutes in or so.  To make matters worse, the "surprises" (finale aside) were beyond predictable and the dumb character moves to serve the plot kept getting worse and worse as the clock ticked forward. All that to say, what started off as promising, wound up dropping the ball the moment it tried to up the ante on itself. Bummer.

In closing, see it for THOMAS JANE’s hypnotizing showcase and some good ideas (like its spiritual themes) or don’t see it at all! THE VEIL was yet another case of "could have been".

Scissors in the neck, knife in the throat, rotten copses, a crucifixion. Not too messy or memorable in this department
T & A
Nothing comes to mind!
THE VEIL had a strong initial premise, a sleek look, an unnerving feel, some novel ideas, the "boo scare of the year" and one hell of a performance by Thomas Jane. Sadly, it couldn't pull all of its elements together to deliver the film this should have been. And yeah the dumb character moves to serve the plot and the see through turns didn't help matters either.
The movie cost 4 Million to make.

There's a DVD for the film out there, but no Blu-Ray.

Thomas Jane and Phil Joanou worked together before on The Punisher sort Dirty Laundry.