The Golem – Israel, 2018: updated with a slew of reviews

‘An ancient legend reborn’

The Golem is a 2018 Israeli/American supernatural horror feature film directed by Doron and Yoav Paz (JeruZalem). The movie stars Hani Furstenberg, Ishai Golan and Alex Tritenko. It was produced by Shalom Eisenbach in conjunction with Shaked Berenson and Patrick Ewald of Epic Pictures Group

A woman’s tight-knit Jewish community that is besieged by foreign invaders. Turning to Jewish mysticism, she conjures a dangerous creature to protect her and her people. However, her creation may be more evil than she ever imagined…

Reviews:

“Despite an intriguing premise, The Golem moves at a glacial place and I unfortunately found it incredibly dull. The plot becomes very predictable and there are barely any surprises. From the moment the golem arrives, it’s pretty obvious how things are going to go down and that Hanna is going to be protective of the replacement child she’s conjured.” Pip Ellwood-Hughes, Entertainment Focus

“The film explores Talmudic ideas around violence, contagion and contamination, but with a modern sensibility. It’s attractively realised despite the necessarily small location, and simple but effective costume work does a lot to help build atmosphere. The action scenes are often too fast-paced to follow but we’re not intended to take much away from them beyond their brutality, and the focus here is really on psychological horror, where it’s on horror at all.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“It’s a fun film, too, its final third anchored by violence and great practical gore effects as the Golem at last fulfills its purpose. What the Paz Brothers manage, though, is to never quite lose sight that their film is about Hanna’s journey through grief; her actualization in an oppressive patrilineal theocracy; her courage to, at the end, perhaps allow herself to be hurt again.” Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central

“All of the major scenes are built so they have the most impact, including the inevitable point when someone thinks the golem needs to be destroyed. When it happens in The Golem, though, the decision isn’t without consequences […] It may not be the scariest horror movie, since a lot of the turns are expected, but it is a well-rendered Golem tale.” Rachel Bellwoar, Flickering Myth

“Despite weaknesses in Ariel Cohen’s script, the Paz brothers are on form in their directors’ chairs. Their set is amazing, making for a dynamic location for the drama. The night scenes are very atmospheric, with the surrounding woodland looking like it holds all sorts of secrets and intrigue in the village as dim candles hint at hidden lives. Furthermore, as per JeruZalem, they show themselves as being equally adept at world building and capturing chaos.” David S. Smith, Horror Cult Films

“The filmmakers smartly adapt ancient folklore and a period setting into a parable for hot-button 2018 issues of nationalism and immigration […] Although some of the gaudier gore FX (including exploding heads) don’t quite mesh with the restrained nature of what surrounds them, this Golem is consistently compelling and sincerely acted.” Steven West, Horrorscreams Videovault

“Despite the dissimilarities of their two features, the Paz Brother consistently show a knack for projecting a vibe of ancient, soul-shattering evil. It is a moody film, sort of like The Witch, but it also seriously portrays the harsh realities of shtetl life in Old Europe. Recommended for fans of serious period horror films…” Joe Bendel, J.B. Spins

” …can be read as an editorial about the perilous consequences of division, vengeance, violence and terror in any number of trouble spots around the world in general and Israel in particular. It has something of a spaghetti western feel, with outlaws terrorising a village until a hero arises … but also evokes the Japanese Majin films…” The Kim Newman Web Site

” …this little village by the woods of north-eastern Europe stands in for modern Israel – with the Paz brothers showing the tragedy of a country both born of violence, and doomed to keep resurrecting it, in a continuous cycle of its assailants’ – and in part its own – making. For, faced with hostile aggression, Hanna and her villagers are damned if they do take action, and damned if they don’t…” Anton Bitel, SciFiNow

Cast and characters:

  • Hani Furstenberg … Hanna
  • Ishai Golan … Benjamin
  • Lenny Ravich … Horrovits
  • Brynie Furstenberg … Perla
  • Alexey Tritenko … Vladimir

Release:

The Golem was shown on 27 August 2018 at the Arrow Video FrightFest in London. It will be released in the USA in February 2019 by Dread Central Presents.

More Israeli horror

The Golem: How He Came into the World – Germany, 1920

JeruZalem – Israel/USA, 2015



Categories: 2018, creature feature, folklore/mythology, monster movie, supernatural

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