EXCLUSIVE, Updated: IFC Midnight has acquired U.S. rights to filmmaker Keith Thomas’ supernatural horror feature debut The Vigil after a bidding war for the pic. The movie, which is billed as having a Hasidic Jewish twist, made its world premiere at TIFF 2019 in the Midnight Madness Section and was slotted for SXSW 2020.
Blumhouse previously was set to distribute The Vigil. Thomas is directing the reboot of Stephen King’s Firestarter starring Zac Efron for Blumhouse, Universal and Weed Road Productions. IFC Midnight purchased the movie from BoulderLight. IFC Midnight and BoulderLight respectively had notable genre theatrical day and date pandemic mini-hits over the summer, IFC with The Rental and Relic and BoulderLight with Becky. Overall, IFC made close to $5M during the pandemic fueled by its genre fare. IFC Midnight is planning a Feb. 26, 2021 release date for The Vigil.
Steeped in ancient Jewish lore and demonology, The Vigil is set over the course of a single evening in Brooklyn’s Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood. Low on funds and having recently left his insular religious community, Yakov reluctantly accepts an offer from his former rabbi and confidante to take on the responsibility of an overnight “shomer,” fulfilling the Jewish practice of watching over the body of a deceased community member. Shortly after arriving at the recently departed’s dilapidated house to sit the vigil, Yakov begins to realize that something is very, very wrong.
The move stars Dave Davis (Bomb City), Malky Goldman (Unorthodox), Menashe Lustig (Menashe), Fred Melamed (A Serious Man), and Lynn Cohen (Munich). Producing is Raphael Margules and J.D. Lifshitz (Contracted, Becky) of BoulderLight Pictures alongside Adam Margules (Menashe).
Thomas says, “The Vigil is a real passion project. Not only for me but our whole team and I’m excited to see how the themes of the film resonate with American audiences. I’m also honored to collaborate with IFC on this release. They have a distinguished record of putting out thought-provoking genre films and their passion for The Vigil is palpable.”
Arianna Bocco EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films added, “We could not be more thrilled to partner with our longtime friends at Boulderlight on bringing this unique and truly scary horror film to US audiences. Keith Thomas is an incredible filmmaker, who with The Vigil, brings a fresh take on the supernatural genre with something we have never seen before.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by Bocco with CAA Media Finance and BoulderLight Pictures on behalf of the filmmakers.