THE GOLEM (2019)
Period horror takes place in Lithuania in 1673 and is steeped in Jewish mythology. A woman named Hanna (Hani Furstenberg) is still in mourning seven years after the death of her little boy. She is terrified at the idea of having another child with her husband Benjamin (Ishai Golan) and is scorned by his father, the village rabbi (Lenny Ravitz). A nearby community is ravaged by plague and the leader Vladimir (Alexey Tritenko) blames the Jewish settlement who are unaffected. When he and his thugs take her village hostage, Hanna uses forbidden knowledge in the Kabbalah to raise a Golem, an elemental creature, to defend them. Unforeseen complications arise, however, when The Golem proves not only uncontrollable, but takes the form of a little boy the same age as her dead son.
Film is directed by the Paz Brothers (Doron and Yoav who directed Jeruzalem) from a script by Ariel Cohen. The setting and the fact that the story is filled with Jewish mythology makes it intriguing and gives it a lot of atmosphere. The Paz Brothers also achieve some effectively spooky scenes and there is some disturbing violence, too. They get good work out of their cast and make excellent use of the Ukrainian locations. The film does evoke the classic story of Frankenstein as Hanna’s creation harms villagers and invaders alike protecting his “mother”, but also reminds one of the 80s cult classic Pumpkinhead as Hanna feels any pain that is inflicted on her elemental offspring. An intriguing and effective film from two filmmakers to keep an eye on.