I was blasting the Sex Pistols while writing this and their song “Pretty Vacant” came on—which is a perfect way to describe The Veil, a straight to Netflix movie from Blumhouse Productions and distributed through Blumhouse Tilt. I actually considered just recording a video of me sleeping while watching the flick and turning that in instead of a written review. But, alas, I have a responsibility.
Jim Jacobs (Thomas Jane) is the crazed leader of a looney cult called Heaven’s Veil. Jacobs has a theory about death revolving around the three nails used to crucify Christ: by removing these three nails, symbolically of course, one can separate their soul from the body and achieve a deathless existence. During an attempt to help his family and followers to achieve such an existence the compound is raided by the FBI and everyone dies. Everyone, that is, except Sarah. Fast forward to present day. Sarah (Lily Rabe) is contacted by a documentary crew led by Maggie (Jessica Alba) who’s discovered some photographs revealing video cameras (which have never been seen before) set up around the compound. Maggie wishes to go to Heaven’s Gate to find out what really happened—because her father was one of the FBI agents who raided the compound that day. Sarah agrees to go along and help with the documentary. Once there, however, she and the others are accosted by supernatural phenomena—visions and voices lurk beyond every door and around every corner! Will Maggie, Sarah and the others be able to uncover the truth behind the Heaven’s Veil massacre? Will Sarah discover why she was the only one left alive? Will the viewer be able to stay awake long enough to care?
Okay, let’s dispense with the positive first: Thomas Jane. He’s the only actor in The Veil who seems to have put some effort into his role; his character is the only one who isn’t as dull as stale bread. His scenes were the only things engaging in this flick. So let’s give Mr. Jane big props for putting some effort into a mediocre flick.
Now it’s time to go downhill.
“Do you hear that?”
“Yeah, I can’t see where it’s coming from.”
“It’s not from the film. Could be from another room?”
After that, they just go about what they were doing without looking the slightest bit worried or freaked out—as though they’d just finished discussing their preferred brand of chewing gum.
Mix the apathetic acting with a script that’s just as lifeless and you have a perfect cure for insomnia. The Veil begins and builds like there’s going to be some grand reveal at the conclusion (you know, like some crazy explanation as to why Sarah was left alive) but no: the script just putts towards an unsatisfying ending—not that that really matters because the journey is about as exciting as watching paint dry but still, what they gave us was just lazy. What little tension and scares that exist in the script could have been drawn out had director Phil Joanou actually given a crap. But his directorial style is akin to a school bell and he, like his actors, is just here to collect a paycheck.
All in all, The Veil is nothing more than a veil of boredom, a flick with less energy and vitality than a fresh corpse. Unless you are forced to do so at gunpoint, don’t watch it. Heck, don’t even think about it. Just keep moving along…there is no entertainment to be found here.