In February 2021, Lakeshore Records released the soundtrack to The Vigil, featuring music by Michael Yezersky (The Tax Collector, Blindspotting). Highlights of Michael Jezierski’s career include his first feature film, Black Ball (which won 8 AFI/AACTA Awards, including Best Film), PJ Hogan’s Mental, the second season of Wolf Creek, Peter Allen’s Catch Milat, the animated short film Lost and his collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, The Red Tree.

Vigil is a supernatural horror film set during an evening in the Hasidic neighborhood of Brooklyn and rooted in ancient Jewish traditions and demonology. After leaving his religious community on the island, he reluctantly accepts the offer of his former rabbi and confidant to take over the nightly shomer, who practices the Jewish custom of watching over the body of a deceased member of the community. Shortly after his arrival at the run-down house of the recently deceased Vigil, Jacob realizes that something is very wrong.

On the philosophy of the bill, Jeserski said:

As Keith Thomas and I discussed, music is a memory. We associate music with the best and worst moments of our lives. For the Vigil, we had to create a score that explores the wickedness of memory (both personal and cultural). Yezersky also noted: We wanted massive textures that could be beautiful and bold at the same time. The music not only attacks, but also meditates on a long and difficult life. For what is the greatest terror – the supernatural or our living reality?

I thought I knew what the wake would be like, but to my surprise I was dead wrong. It is true that, as with many horror film scores I have heard over the years, a constant sense of malevolence pervades the entire score. But it’s the way that feeling is conveyed that, for me, sets The Vigil apart from more recent scores in similar genres.

For example, the use of the human voice in the score (especially the singing) really emphasizes for me the religious origins of the story (since it is based on Jewish folklore). It’s not something you hear in many horror movies, so the story is already ingrained in my head. I also like it because it feels like you’re experiencing something primal, because singing is one of the oldest forms in existence today.

I also really like the way the composer creates sound textures that literally give you goosebumps when you hear them. Lair is a good example of this technique, but honestly it permeates much of the project. In the same vein, I think horror movies are designed to make the viewer uncomfortable. It is only natural that this should also apply to film music.

In the same vein, I love the way The Vigil’s music is full of the creaks and groans produced by the instruments. It creates the same sense of antiquity as the song, but it also gives the impression that you’re in a run-down or dilapidated space (as far as I understand, the film is set in a run-down house). It is certainly a unique score, small but with powerful musical thoughts. This is another example of why you should never drop a soundtrack just because it belongs in a horror movie.

List of the Vigilance soundtrack.

  1. Tefillin (4:23)
  2. Ghost, pt. 1 (1:58)
  3. Ghost, pt. 2 (2:52)
  4. The Past (3:15)
  5. Hide and Seek (4:25)
  6. Crushed by memories (5:08)
  7. Video games (4:12)
  8. Behind You (3:32)
  9. Face to Face (4:12)
  10. Start the vigil (3:31).
  11. Ner (3:41)
  12. Echo (4:26)
  13. Sun (2:24)

Let me know what you think of The Vigil and the soundtrack in the comments below, and have a great day!

See also:

Film soundtracks A-W

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