Movie Review: THE GOLEM (2019)

THE GOLEM was directed by Doran Paz and Yoav Paz from a screenplay by Ariel Cohen and stars Hani Furstenberg, Ishai Golen, Brynie Furstenberg, Adi Kvetner, Lenny Ravich and Alex Tritenko.

During an outbreak of a deadly plague, a mystical woman must save her tight-knit Jewish community from foreign invaders, but the entity she summons to protect them is a far greater evil.In this stunningly reimagined period horror version of an old mystical legend, a Jewish community in a shtetl are besieged by deadly intruders. Set in 17th century Lithuania, Hanna (Hani Furstenberg) the wistful, conflicted wife of the local rabbi’s son Benjamin (Ishai Golen),  secretly turns to Jewish mysticism and The Kabbalah to conjure up a dangerous entity to protect her community. But the creature she molds out of mud and summons to life echoes her tragic past and becomes so dangerously connected to its creator, that Hanna can’t see what a heartless monster she has fashioned from abject fear and desperate loathing.

The movie takes place in 1673 Lithuania when a small Jewish village is threatened by a group of Russian outsiders led by Vladimir (Alex Tritenko) because a plague has broken out and he’s put the blame on the Jews. He thinks they’ve put some kind of curse on his people but they had nothing to do with it. His own daughter has been stricken with this deadly illness and he warns that if they can’t help her and she dies then so will everyone in the village. The movie centers around Hanna (Hani Furstenberg) and her husband Benjamin (Ishai Golen) who lost their young son Josef seven years earlier and the two have slowly grown apart since his untimely death.

What happens is, Hanna has been secretly studying the Kabbalah, which is also frowned upon by the rabbi, so she decides to perform a ritual to protect her village and she ends up summoning a mythical creature called, The Golem. This dirt creature is born out of pain, fear and grief and ends up taking shape as something familiar that Hanna will be able to recognize – her son Josef. There’s a powerful and terrifying bond between Hanna and this child-like monster that serves her like an obedient guard dog that comes with a vicious bite. It doesn’t take long for the outsiders to learn a deadly lesson that they should’ve left this small Jewish village alone because The Golem delivers a powerful message to Vladimir and his people as it picks them off one by one. The scary thing for Hanna is that once this demon completes its mission will she be able to stop it.

We’re living in a great time as far as horror movies go because there’s been some extremely unique and creative offerings unleashed over the past few years and The Golem is one of them. The story about this mythical creature and the grieving mother who summons it was really interesting. The movie has a great cast that features a strong female lead and the Paz brothers did a really good job telling this story and bringing it to life on screen. The Paz brothers’ skilled directing is complimented by some atmospheric cinematography by Rotem Yaron and a haunting score by Tal Yardeni and these two ingredients just add more to this fascinating slice of cinema.

Bottom line is,, The Golem kind of plays like a companion piece to The Witch and is a breath of fresh air because it offers something completely new and original for the horror genre. If you’re tired of the same ol’ same ol’ and burnt out on zombies, ghosts and masked killers then this one is for you. As far as movie monsters go, this creature may look all innocent but it delivers a deadly blow to anyone who crosses its path and there’s plenty of blood and gore to go along with it. The Paz brothers have a little horror gem on their hands and it’s about to be unleashed to the masses. The Golem will open theatrically in Los Angeles on February 1st followed by a Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand release on February 5th.

Distributor: Epic Pictures and Dread Central Presents

Run Time: 95 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

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