If there’s one thing we love it’s diving into a horror movie from another country. There’s something engaging about learning how other cultures view horror and how their viewers consume it. Every culture seems to have its own areas of emphasis, and its own tropes they play with. In Spain, you’ll find many psychological thrillers with bizarre twists (The House At The End Of Time) while Mexico will deliver enough blood and violence for any fan of gore. The Golem was the first time we had the opportunity to see a film produced by an Israeli film company, and you better believe we were excited to check it out!
A Premise Mixed In Mythology and Tragedy
Of all the ancient Hebrew myths the one that is the most known is that of Lilith, first wife of Adam. Only slightly less well-known is that of the Golem, a powerful creature created by a Rabbi using the 72 special characters and the secret name of God. Having formed a great beast out of clay the rabbi inserted a piece of paper bound in a red thread into the mouth of it, bringing it to life.
The Golem reaches back to this story, showing us that the first summoning of a Golem ended in tragedy for everyone involved. It then brings us into the ‘modern day’ for the story (17th Century Lithuania) where we meet a Jewish community, Hanna in particular. Many of the names in this story are going to seem familiar if you know your Bible or Torah, and it becomes clear very quickly that the themes associated with them will be central to our tale.
Violence, Sickness, And Fear
After a regrettable encounter with Gentiles (Non-Jews) who are dying of the plague, the town gets invaded by outsiders convinced that ‘Jewish Spells’ have struck them down with this illness. Vladimir, leader of this group of gentiles, is particular grief-stricken as his daughter is currently in the last stage of the plague. They are told that if they don’t ‘lift their spells’ and save his daughter then their entire village will be slaughtered.
Our main character, Hanna, is a bundle of secrets that slowly get revealed throughout the film. We start getting a glimpse under the proverbial hood when we see her hiding under the building where the Rabbi teaches the secrets of the Kaballah. Her husband is loving and supportive of her in this and clearly does his best to see past the parochial thoughts of the community. Little does he know of the betrayal that awaits in the course of this film.
The storytelling in The Golem is excellent, and there’s a lot of different elements to discover as the tale unravels. If you’ve yet to see this incredible piece of horror we can’t encourage you enough to check it out. All of the major players are sympathetic in this story, and the end leaves you with more moral questions than it does answers. It's one of the best films we’ve seen recently as a result, and it’s definitely worth your time. And while we do not currently sell Golem Halloween props at this time, we do sell some of the scariest Halloween Costumes you've ever seen.