During an outbreak of a deadly plague, a mystical woman must save her tight-knit Jewish community from foreign invaders, but the entity she conjures to protect them is a far greater evil.
Another slam dunk out of the park our latest review comes on a new film titled “The Golem” directed by the Paz Brothers and distributed under Epic Pictures.
A intense period piece that appears to occur in Lithuania during the 16th century, the era of the black plague. At the center of this story is Hanna (Hani Furstenberg), a wife to Benjamin (Ishai Golan) who have both endured the loss of their child (7 years ago).
Hanna and Benjamin who never got over the loss, deal with the ordeal in their own ways. Though Hanna appears to have secretly prevented the birth of any future children due to the trauma. The 2 of them live within a small Jewish community that still practices their beliefs and mysticism while keeping order. The village is small, but co-exists within the rules of their religion and way of life. When a violent race of gentiles begin to experience the effects of the plague affecting their community, they place entire blame on the curses of the Jewish community. This sets the stage for a “promised town burning” if the Jewish people cannot save the leader’s daughter from this deadly affliction.
In short, the way of life and secrecy of these people are threatened as the local healer tries to help the daughter of Vladimir (Alex Tritenko), the Catholic’s leader. Hanna who has been secretly reading into the way of the Kabbalah, discovers ancient text that speaks of a form of protection that can be achieved per the raising of a Golem. The golem is an dark unforgiving demon/entity that serves the master of their resurrection. A resurrection/conjuring is performed per way of rituals conjuring the emergence of a golem out of inanimate matter, such as mud and clay.
Legends report of the Golem being a protector or hostile being that is summoned usually out of an act of vengeance or violence called upon to serve its master. In this case, Hanna manages to invoke the being which takes on the form of her lost son, Joseph. The golem is awakened from beyond offering its protection to Hanna and that which she commands it to attack.
As you would guess all is well until the Golem is discovered to additionally attack a few members of the Jewish community. Though the real story here is the supernatural unforgiving nature of this being that takes out groups of men at will often slaughtering, dismembering, and beheading those who oppose it (at lightning speed).
Now on that alone, you can phantom the premise and how this all plays out, however what works for this film is a deep level of authentic setting, timeline, and execution on old traditions.
The Golem, though in the form of a child, inflicts its wrath with super-hero-like speed often lending the film to intense moment of violence, gore and bloodshed. Sure, it takes some traditional story building to establish the characters way of life and their conflicts (both internal and external), though it all plays out in a smattering of cool horrific scenes and moments that contrasts nicely against the religious dogma and serene country setting. The fact that it’s a small child additionally adds a level of evil and innocence which is no doubt intended for the viewing audiences visual conflicts.
In closing, this film is a great piece that mirrors the ambience and settings we are used to seeing in films like “The Witch” and “The Village” (managing to wrap it all up in a pretty horrific ride). The film makers of this project seem to have done their homework by covering all the historical and legendary aspects of this time period (including its monster). Beyond that it’s all good ol bloody fun chock full of visceral surprises aligning nicely with its warnings of raising things from beyond without fully understanding the consequences of such actions.
The movie is worthy of watch on the basis that you have to embrace the slow grind in anticipation of the things to come. “The Golem” clearly delivers on it’s ideas, purpose and outcome. A winner for me!