By Phil Hall | January 20, 2001

“Vigilance” is a creepy yet disappointing short film about a weird young man who decides to catch the Angel of Death in the act of spiriting away his dying father. The film has all of the right ingredients: moody cinematography by Roy Unger, appropriately edgy sound effects including a phone that never stops ringing and the crackle of a TV whose station is off the air, and haunting Debussy music filtering like an ominous fog. There is even a properly odd actor in the body of Rod Havrick Altschul, who wanders around in a mix of rue and dread.
And yet, “Vigilance” poops out by the most unfortunate twist of plot that denies the man his chance to see the Angel of Death: a distraction from a leaking kitchen sink faucet. The man had earlier informed the audience that he has a short span of attention…but missing a chance to see the Angel of Death in order to fiddle with a faucet goes beyond short attention span into short brain span!
To his credit, filmmaker Daniel Lawrence has true talent in editing, camera placement and scene blocking, and his casting of the creepy Mr. Altschul shows that he knows how to put the right person in front of his camera. But if he wants inspiration in the screenplay department, he might wish to seek out the extraordinary Indonesian drama [ “Sri” ] , another Angel of Death story which was named the Best Unseen Film of 2000 by Film Threat. Now that’s an Angel of Death to remember!

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