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Future

Exxon outlines plan to prepare for lower carbon future


Exxon Mobil, the nation’s largest oil company, on Wednesday outlined a five-year plan to increase its earnings and grow its dividend while working to lower emissions in support of the Paris climate goals.

The Irving oil major said it is planning to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from its oil and gas production by 15 to 20 percent from 2016 levels by reducing flaring and methane emissions by 40 to 50 percent by 2025. The company is planning to eliminate routine flaring, in which natural gas is burned off due to lack of gathering lines and processing facilities, by 2030.

“We are fully committed to growing shareholder value by meeting the world’s energy demands today and pursuing a technology-driven strategy to succeed through the energy transition,” Exxon CEO Darren Woods said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we’re working to reduce our emissions and develop solutions, such as carbon capture and low-carbon hydrogen, needed to de-carbonize the highest emitting sectors of the economy – a critical requirement for society to achieve its net zero ambition.”

Exxon’s strategy comes as the oil giant faces mounting pressure from governments, investors and environmental groups to abandon its century-old oil and gas business model to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The company this week added two transition-minded directors to its board as it contends with a proxy battle from an climate-minded activist investor. A federal judge also this week levied a $14 million penalty against Exxon for thousands of Clean Air Act violations at its Baytown refinery.

OIL BUST: Big Oil’s future could be smaller than its past

Still, Exxon said it plans to spend $16 billion to $19 billion this year and as much as $25 billion per year through 2025 on low-cost, high-return oil and gas projects to meet global demand for fossil fuels. These investments are expected to deliver shareholder returns of more than 30 percent, and the vast majority of its oil and gas projects can generate a 10 percent return even with oil at $35 a barrel, Woods said.

Unlike European oil majors that have committed to lowering oil and gas production to combat climate change, Exxon said it will focus on lowering emissions from its fossil fuels production and help other industries lower their emissions.



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Anniversary: Nintendo Switch Launched Four Years Ago Today


© Nintendo Life

Four years ago today on 3rd March 2017, the Nintendo Switch was first released across most regions worldwide.

With its monstrous sales records and incredible library of games, it’s not especially easy to remember how different things were for Nintendo before the Switch’s arrival. We all know the story of Switch’s predecessor, the Wii U – and how, despite a strong lineup of first-party greats, it ultimately disappointed in terms of sales and third-party effort – but Nintendo’s new console appears to have completely turned things around for the better.

Switch arrived in style back in March 2017, launching alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – one of the finest launch titles the world has ever seen and indeed, one of the greatest games of all time according to critics. The system already had its killer app on day one, but its sales, success, and overall positivity have continued to flow ever since.

Name a better launch title, we dare you...
Name a better launch title, we dare you…

As the console reaches the “middle of its life cycle,” Nintendo is confident that it’ll go on to surpass the Wii. With an upcoming roster of games including The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Monster Hunter Rise, Metroid Prime 4, Splatoon 3, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if that were to be the case.

Have you enjoyed your time with Nintendo Switch over the last four years? Did you get yours on day one? Feel free to share your favourite Switch memories with us in the comments below.





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Gadgets

FDA Approves Device That May Help Prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries by Clamping Blood Vessels in the Neck


The US Food and Drug Administration approved a device last week that may help prevent traumatic brain injuries in athletes by clamping down on blood vessels in the neck.

Odd, right? But it might have real potential. By slightly restricting blood flow through the internal jugular veins, the device, called the Q-Collar, increases blood volume in the skull, thereby limiting movement of the brain inside of the skull, which experts believe is what generally causes traumatic brain injuries.

As new research on brain injuries continues to emerge, experts have increasingly focused on ways to minimize the damage from repeated subconcussive impacts, which have been indicted for likely causing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease that has notoriously affected football players and that results from cumulative damage over time.

To assess the safety and effectiveness of the Q-Collar, the FDA ran a series of studies, including a prospective, longitudinal on 284 high school American football players that used pre- and post-season MRI scans and accelerometer data to track structural changes in the subjects’ brains that occurred throughout a season of play. The changes found affected deep white matter regions of the brain related to electrical signal transmission and were associated with repeated head impacts.

Significant changes were found in the brains of 73% of the no-collar group, while 77% of the Q-Collar group did not exhibit any significant changes.

Another study looked at female soccer players and had similar findings: The no-collar group, in general, had significant white matter changes, while the Q-Collar group did not. The soccer study, however, included another MRI three months post-season, which found that the white mater changes had either resolved or partially resolved, leaving open the question of whether the Q-Collar helps prevent the cumulative damage that leads to CTE.

It’s important to note that the Q-Collar is in no way an adequate replacement for a helmet and other appropriate protective gear, but it is a cool piece of gear that seems promising and might (hopefully) have benefits in a real and very scary corner of the impact and action sports worlds.

The Q-Collar is already for sale in Canada and is pending approval in Europe and the UK. Information about availability in the US will be available soon at https://q30innovations.com/.

More information about the Q-Collar and its FDA approval is available in the FDA press release.



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Hardware

Global Augmented and Mixed Reality Market (2021 to 2026)


Dublin, March 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Technology, Infrastructure, Devices, Solutions, Apps and Services in Industry Verticals 2021 – 2026” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

This report assesses AR, MR, and other immersive technology components, the AR/MR ecosystem, and competitive landscape. The report evaluates market opportunities for hardware, software, and services. The analysis takes into consideration market drivers and constraints such as potential regulatory developments and associated implications.

The report provides detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis including forecasts for AR/MR by major hardware components, software, services, semiconductor components, and more for 2021 to 2026.

Select Report Findings:

  • Hardware is the largest market segment with HUD the largest component
  • The overall market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 54.0% and reach $372 billion
  • Consumer electronics is the largest industry vertical whereas the military segment is expected to have the highest growth potential
  • Latin America is expected to have the highest growth with a CAGR of 77.0%. Brazil and Argentina are the major countries within the region
  • China, India, and Japan are leading countries in Asia Pac while South Africa, UAE, and South Africa are the major countries in the MEA region
  • North America is the largest region, followed by Europe. USA is the largest country in North America, while Germany, France, UK are in Europe

The report also provides specific insights and recommendations for major ecosystem constituents including Advertisers and Media Companies, Artificial Intelligence Providers, Automotive Companies, Broadband Infrastructure Providers, Communication Service Providers, Computing Companies, Data Analytics Providers, Equipment Providers, IoT Suppliers and Service Providers, Semiconductor Companies, Smart City Systems Integrators, Social Media Companies, and Software Developers.

Assisted or Augmented Reality (AR) represents a live (direct or indirect), view of a physical, real-world environment in which certain elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input. In addition to a visual overlay, AR may also provide audio and tactile inputs to the user, and rely upon presence and positioning technologies to present location-specific sensory inputs and information to the user. In this manner, AR represents a blending of information technology and media within a real-world environment for the benefit of consumers, businesses, and industrial users.

Mixed Reality (MR) represents a form of hybrid reality in which physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time. With MR, either virtual objects are digitally mixed into reality or real-world objects are merged into virtual worlds. The latter case is sometimes referred to as “Augmented Virtuality”, and is one step closer to a more evolved Virtual Reality (VR), as real-world objects in a virtual world take on a sense of permanency with real objects, appearing to actually exist within the virtual world.

Adding to this sense of permanency, real-world objects in a virtual world may be digitally controlled. Conversely, MR may also support the manipulation of virtual objects permanently placed in the real-world. In either scenario, MR will be an important aspect of telerobotics and other forms of teleoperation.

The primary goal of AR is to enrich the user’s perception of the real-world, providing information and insights that otherwise would not be obtainable. AR use cases have grown substantially across many industry verticals within the last two years, providing significant market momentum, and indicating great promise to transform communications, content, and commerce across a wide range of sectors. The goals of MR are broad, yet directionally focused on a true merging of real and virtual worlds, which we believe will be a major catalyst for wide-spread acceptance and usage of VR across all major industry sectors.

AR and MR Market Developments

The growing demand of AR in the entertainment, retail, and defense sectors is encouraging manufacturers to expand their business. Both traditional advertisers and digital media companies need to get ready for increased altered reality. Advertisers are looking at using augmented reality as part of a marketing drive in order to attract new customers as well as retentive existing ones.

Apple is planning to launch its first augmented reality headset in 2022. It will follow that with a smaller pair of AR glasses in 2023. The AR smart glasses market is picking up pace as it inches away from being a niche product to becoming an industrial and enterprise problem solver. Mass consumer adoption is elusive, if not years away, but the market is building its ecosystem, refining hardware, and taking a more realistic approach for the long-run ramp-up of smart AR glasses.

AR and MR Market Outlook

The total global augmented and mixed reality market is expected to reach $103.9 billion growing at 79.2% CAGR. Hardware is the major component in the total global augmented and mixed reality market. The software segment is expected to reach $32 billion with a CAGR of 89.2%. Hardware components in training and education are anticipated to propel the market growth in the forecast period. The service segment is expected to reach $6.7 billion with a CAGR of 105.8%.

Report Benefits:

  • Augmented and Mixed reality forecasts through 2026
  • Identify market leaders and their strategies and solutions
  • Understand the market dynamics within the AR/MR ecosystem
  • Understand the relationship between AR/MR and other technologies
  • Identify high-potential investment areas for AR/MR application development

Key Topics Covered:

1.0 Executive Summary

2.0 Introduction
2.1 Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality
2.2 Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality and Merged Reality
2.3 Augmented Reality Value Chain
2.4 Market Drivers
2.4.1 Increasing Demand of AR Devices in Healthcare
2.4.2 Growing Demand of AR Devices in Retail & E-Commerce
2.4.3 Increasing Application of AR in the Gaming Industry
2.5 Challenges
2.5.1 High Set-up Cost
2.5.2 Reconfiguration of Applications for Various Platforms
2.5.3 Limited Content

3.0 Augmented Reality Ecosystem
3.1 AR Hardware vs. Software
3.2 Mobile AR vs. Dedicated Hardware
3.3 Marker Based Reality vs. Marker Less Reality
3.4 Mixed Reality and Reconfigurable Workforce
3.5 AR Application Landscape
3.5.1 Consumer Electronics
3.5.2 Industrial
3.5.3 Enterprise
3.5.4 Military and Defense
3.6 Regulatory Landscape
3.6.1 Digital Millennium Copyright Act
3.6.2 Communication Decency Act
3.6.3 Federal Trade Commission
3.7 Competitive Landscape

4.0 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market Drivers and Opportunities
4.1 Consumer Awareness and Acceptance
4.2 Compelling Applications
4.3 Business-to-Business Apps and Services
4.4 Teleoperation and Tele-robotics

5.0 Company Analysis
5.1 Google Inc.
5.2 DAQRI
5.3 Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
5.4 Seiko Epson Corp.
5.5 Sony Corporation
5.6 Qualcomm Inc.
5.7 Microsoft Corporation
5.8 PTC Corporation
5.9 Apple Inc.
5.10 HTC Corporation
5.11 Niantic Inc.
5.12 EON Reality Inc.
5.13 Magic Leap
5.14 Intel Corporation
5.15 Facebook Corporation
5.16 Wikitude GmbH
5.17 Zugara Inc.
5.18 Blippar
5.19 Upskill
5.20 Infinity Augmented Reality Inc.
5.21 Atheer Inc.
5.22 Marxent Labs LLC
5.23 Inglobe Technologies
5.24 ScopeAR
5.25 Catchoom Technologies
5.26 Ubimax GmbH
5.27 ABB

6.0 Market Analysis and Forecast
6.1 Global Augmented and Mixed Reality Market 2021 – 2026
6.1.1 Total Market Size 2021 – 2026
6.1.2 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Segment
6.1.3 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware Type
6.1.4 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by AR Device Type
6.1.5 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware Component Type
6.1.6 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Sensors Type
6.1.7 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Semiconductor Component Type
6.1.8 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Software Segment
6.1.8.1 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Software Functions
6.1.8.2 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Software Type
6.1.8.3 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Service Type
6.1.8.3.1 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Professional Service Type
6.1.9 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Type
6.1.9.1 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Marker Based Reality Type
6.1.9.2 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Markerless Reality Type
6.1.10 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Technology
6.1.11 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Industry Vertical
6.1.11.1 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Consumer Electronics Application
6.1.11.2 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Entertainment Application
6.1.11.3 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Enterprise Application
6.1.11.4 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Retail and E-Commerce Application
6.1.11.5 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Healthcare and Medical Application
6.1.11.6 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Industrial Application
6.1.11.7 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Military and Defense Application
6.2 Regional Market Forecast 2021 – 2026
6.2.1 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Region
6.2.2 North America Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country
6.2.3 Europe Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country
6.2.4 APAC Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country
6.2.5 MEA Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country
6.2.6 Latin America Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country
6.3 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Forecast 2021 – 2026
6.3.1 Global Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units
6.3.2 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Device Type
6.3.3 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Industry Vertical
6.3.3.1 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Consumer Electronics Application
6.3.3.2 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Entertainment Application
6.3.3.3 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Enterprise Application
6.3.3.4 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Retail and E-Commerce Application
6.3.3.5 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Healthcare and Medical Application
6.3.3.6 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Industrial Application
6.3.3.7 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Military and Defense Application
6.3.4 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Region
6.3.4.1 North America Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country
6.3.4.2 Europe Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country
6.3.4.3 APAC Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country
6.3.4.4 MEA Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country
6.3.4.5 MEA Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country

7.0 Conclusions and Recommendations
7.1.1 Advertisers and Media Companies
7.1.2 Artificial Intelligence Providers
7.1.3 Automotive Companies
7.1.4 Broadband Infrastructure Providers
7.1.5 Communication Service Providers
7.1.6 Computing Companies
7.1.7 Data Analytics Providers
7.1.8 Equipment Providers
7.1.9 IoT Suppliers and Service Providers
7.1.10 Semiconductor Companies
7.1.11 Smart City Systems Integrators
7.1.12 Social Media Companies
7.1.13 Software Developers

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/ogthi7

CONTACT: ResearchAndMarkets.com
Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager
[email protected]
For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470
For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630
For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900



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Samsung QE65QN95A review | What Hi-Fi?




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Future

Rochester extends contract with The Landing, future still uncertain


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — The Rochester City Council voted to extend the contract with The Landing through summer, but’s not quite a done deal.

The Landing has been a place where people experiencing homelessness can find safety and extra support. Its mission is to get people off the streets and help them move forward with their lives.

Its been operating at the old Silver Lake Fire Station in Rochester since November through a six-month contract with the city. The contract was set to expire May 15, leaving the founders of organization unsure of its future.

On Tuesday, The Rochester City Council voted 5-2 to extend the contract through Aug. 31.

The Landing Co-Founder Dan Fifield said although he’s happy about the extension, he’s worried about the fate of the vulnerable population they serve. He said some people in the city need to see helping the homeless as more of a priority.

“It’s good news that we have more time,” Fifield said. “My question is, how do I tell my 210 unique individuals that we’ve had come through our doors since February 1, that they’re not worth having services for anymore? To have the attitude that this isn’t necessary, the statistics prove that it’s totally necessary. These services are fundamental to somebody’s existence.”

Since the center opened, 143 people have secured transitional or permanent housing, and the Rochester Police Department has seen a decrease in incidents.

The extension through August will be funded with CARES Act money, totaling $158,000.

Fifield said future plans for The Landing will be discussed this weekend at a board meeting. He said eventually, the plan would be for the organization to have its own permanent building.

The venture would need to be funded through grants and fundraising, which can take a lot of time.

“Our friends here need the help of the community,” Fifield said. “They don’t generally want to be in this position. If anybody doesn’t understand that, feel free to contact me, and I’ll explain how these things happen.”

The City of Rochester Parks Board still needs to give final approval on the contract extension Tuesday afternoon.



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Epic Games Has Acquired Fall Guys Developer Mediatonic


Epic Games has officially acquired Tonic Games Group, the development company behind Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.
Epic shared the news while also confirming, “your gameplay isn’t changing and Epic will continue to invest in making the game a great experience for players across platforms.”Furthermore, Epic has said, “your favorite colorful beans will still stumble through the chaos on PC, PlayStation, and soon Nintendo Switch and Xbox.”

Mediatonic also announced the news with a FAQ that is set to answer some of the biggest questions regarding the future of Fall Guys.

Alongside revealing that the Fall Guys team has already grown from 35 to 150, Mediatonic promised that “your gameplay isn’t changing” and that this acquisition will help them bring a ton of features already seen in Fortnite and Rocket League, other games owned by Epic.

These features include account systems, cross-play, squad vs squad modes, and more.

While Mediatonic mentioned Fall Guys will continue to remain on Steam, it had nothing more to announce regarding a possible move to a free-to-play model.

As to why Mediatonic chose Epic, the developer said they’ve been “mutual friends for a while” and that the team has “a lot in common and share a lot of the same goals.”

“It’s no secret that Epic is invested in building the metaverse and Tonic Games shares this goal. As Epic works to build this virtual future, we need great creative talent who know how to build powerful games, content and experiences,” Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said.

The Best (and Worst) Reviewed Games of 2020

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is in the middle of its third season and has recently begun teasing season 4, which is titled Fall Guys 4041 and appears to have an ’80s sci-fi theme.

Fall Guys has been a runaway success since it launched last year, even becoming the most downloaded PlayStation Plus game of all time.

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.





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Ankeny polling location closed due to suspected pipe bomb


Ankeny police said the Lakeside Center, a polling location, has been evacuated Tuesday after a suspicious device was found at the scene.Police are asking people to avoid the area around 400 NW Lakeshore Drive while they await additional resources.The center is a polling location for Ankney’s special election Tuesday. Voters have been told they can cast their ballots at other locations while the center is closed.Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald said at approximately 9:25 a.m., staff was alerted by a passerby that there was a suspicious device in the vicinity of the polling location. Fitzgerald told KCCI the device looks like a pipe bomb.Fitzgerald said Ankeny police were contact, as well as the Secretary of State’s Office was for protocols on how to proceed.Polling staff is on site, but not inside the building, to redirect voters to other polling locations, Fitzgerald said, and all votes currently cast at the location are still legitimate. None of the other polling sites are suspected to be in danger. Fitzgerald said it is believed to be an isolated incident.Check the KCCI Breaking News and Weather App for updates on this developing story.

Ankeny police said the Lakeside Center, a polling location, has been evacuated Tuesday after a suspicious device was found at the scene.

Police are asking people to avoid the area around 400 NW Lakeshore Drive while they await additional resources.

The center is a polling location for Ankney’s special election Tuesday. Voters have been told they can cast their ballots at other locations while the center is closed.

Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald said at approximately 9:25 a.m., staff was alerted by a passerby that there was a suspicious device in the vicinity of the polling location. Fitzgerald told KCCI the device looks like a pipe bomb.

Fitzgerald said Ankeny police were contact, as well as the Secretary of State’s Office was for protocols on how to proceed.

Polling staff is on site, but not inside the building, to redirect voters to other polling locations, Fitzgerald said, and all votes currently cast at the location are still legitimate.

None of the other polling sites are suspected to be in danger. Fitzgerald said it is believed to be an isolated incident.

Check the KCCI Breaking News and Weather App for updates on this developing story.

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You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.





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Hardware

MSI Unlocks PCI-E 4.0 Support on Z490 Motherboards


MSI has officially unlocked PCIe Gen 4.0 support for Intel’s upcoming Rocket Lake CPUs that will soon vie for a spot on our list of Best CPUs. The update comes through new BIOS updates for MSI’s entire Z490 lineup, following up on Z490’s potential to bring PCIe 4.0 support to Rocket Lake platforms. 

MSI says it designed its Z490 boards specifically for Gen 4.0 support from the very beginning by implementing ” PCIe 4.0 ready clock generator, lane switch, redriver, PCIe slots, and M.2 connectors.” You can see the list of supported motherboards below. 

(Image credit: MSI)

Of course, other manufacturers have designed their Z490 motherboards for Gen 4.0 support, but it remains to be seen whether these manufacturers will fully support PCIe 4.0 in all areas or if it will be supported in a limited capacity, say only on certain slots. We’ve reached out to MSI for clarification on the matter. 



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The Vigil Review – IGN


Hollywood horror, especially supernatural horror, has been largely defined by Christian imagery, which is part of why Keith Thomas’ debut feature The Vigil feels so refreshing. Steeped in the Jewish tradition of shemira — the watching-over of a body from the time of death until burial — the film mines spiritual ideas which may not be immediately familiar to most goyim audiences. But Thomas’s 90-minute, one-location Yiddish and English story is so fine-tuned, and so emotionally riveting, that it feels like the work of a seasoned maestro who’s been dealing in these themes for decades.Horror films in Yiddish are rare. Unless you count the few Yiddish lines in Demon (2016), you’d have to go back as far as Michal Waszynski’s Dir Dybbuk in 1937. Writer-director Thomas, a rabbinical school dropout, was keenly aware of the lack of traditional Jewish supernatural horror when he made the film, and he attributes this to Judaism’s comparative lack of concepts like the Christian Hell and its demonic emissaries. 2012’s The Possession comes to mind as mainstream Jewish horror, but even that film felt like The Exorcist (1973) with some specifics shuffled around.

From where, then, does Thomas mine his terrors? One answer seems obvious: the film forces its characters to look inward at both personal and cultural loss. The other answer, however, isn’t one you’d expect: The Vigil’s horror is just as technological as it is supernatural.

The story spans a single night and follows Yakov Ronen (Dave Davis), a young Hasidic man in New York who attends a support group for those who’ve left ultra-Orthodoxy behind. He feels isolated even in social settings. Money is tight, forcing him to choose between meals and medication, and he hasn’t yet grown comfortable with dating norms; his group-mate Sarah (Malky Godlman) puts her number in his phone when he can’t figure out how. There’s also something deeper troubling Yakov — something more painful than these new fears of technology and intimacy — which the film holds back on revealing until the moment is opportune. Perhaps it waits a little too long, but scenes, where the tension dissipates are few and far between

When the group session ends, Yakov is approached by his former rabbi Reb Shulem (Menashe Lustig, subject of semi-autobiography Menashe), who offers him an overnight job for a quick payday. It seems like Yakov’s money woes might be temporarily soothed, but Shulem has other motives: the job is that of a shomer, or a guardian for a recently deceased Hasidic man named Mr. Litvak (Ronald Cohen), and Shulem hopes the tradition will nudge Yakov back towards his religious roots.Yakov agrees to the money, though not to Shulem’s spiritual advances, and heads straight to the Litvaks’ dingy two-story residence in Borough Park. Complicating matters is the fact that the widowed Mrs. Litvak (the late, inimitable Lynn Cohen) suffers from dementia, but the task seems simple enough: Yakov must watch over the deceased for five hours, until sunrise. However, something is amiss, both with the body and with the darkened surroundings. Yakov has been taking pills, so it could all just be a trick of the mind, but he soon begins to see and hear things lurking in the shadows. He also discovers that Mr. Litvak had become obsessed with a mazzik — a malevolent demon from Talmudic lore — which he believed had been haunting him, and would pass to a nearby soul upon his death. Could Yakov be that soul?

The Vigil feels like a tug of war between tradition and modernity. Yakov hopes to leave behind his old Hasidic life and assimilate into gentile society, but upon entering the Litvaks’ home, he’s immediately surrounded by traditional imagery, which reminds him of a past in which he stuck out sorely, in even in a city as multicultural as New York. One such sleep-deprived flashback involves an antisemitic attack, during which Yakov’s payos (or side-curls) and traditional Hasidic garb turned him and his younger brother Burech (Ethan Stone) into instant targets. Yakov may not bear the physical scars of this incident, but it weighs on him emotionally and makes his new buzz-cut appearance feel like an attempt to suppress this painful history.

“The Vigil feels like a tug of war between tradition and modernity.”


Jewish trauma plays a key part in the film’s creeping horrors, though strangely, some of the experiences Yakov recalls may not even be his own. The film frequently circles back to a scene from the Holocaust — specifically, an anonymous Jewish man being forced, by a Nazi officer, to do terrible things to survive — and though the film doesn’t provide a direct explanation, it offers hints that the mazzik may be able to conjure other people’s memories. The only thing Yakov knows about Mr. Litvak is that he survived the Holocaust — but no matter whose memories these are, they evoke a larger, more violent history whose specter Yakov can’t escape.

Yakov’s flashback and these mysterious World War II memories are linked aesthetically to some of the abstract, seemingly supernatural goings-on around the Litvaks’ home. The result is a narrative continuum in which intergenerational trauma defines not just the characters, but the physical spaces around them. The attack in Yakov’s past unfolded on a darkened street, and the house he now finds himself in is engulfed in shadow; when the demon first takes physical form, its legs peek out from behind a wall, evoking an image from Yakov’s flashback best left unspoiled. Similarly, the Holocaust memory involves a woman turning her head back to gaze at the mysterious man, and Mr. Litvak’s description of the mazzik (in a video he recorded) involves a ghastly figure with its head turned backward, forever cursed to gaze into the past. The mazzik’s horrific appearance is revealed slowly, and it thankfully doesn’t end up a deflating CGI-fest like many monsters of its ilk (the otherwise adept His House comes to mind). As much as the mazzik embodies physical torment, it’s also a twisted mirror to personal and generational survivor’s guilt. For the most part, the film’s scares emanate from within.

5 Truly Twisted Horror Movies That Are Worth Watching (Once)

But even though tradition is where the horror seems to originate, modernity isn’t the answer. In fact, escape from tradition is framed as equally terrifying, when it involves traumas unaddressed. The question of why Yakov can’t simply leave the house is answered in delightfully gory fashion, and the film even takes a few sharp turns into tech thriller territory. At first, this feels like throwing too much at the wall just to see what sticks — strange videos, phone calls, and text messages keep entering the film’s fabric — but it slowly ends up working on numerous fronts.

For one thing, Yakov’s own perspective becomes less reliable as the night wears on (and he certainly can’t trust Mrs. Litvak’s), and as technology evolves, a digital image can be as easily manipulated as a distant memory. So the concept of truth, both internal and external, becomes increasingly hazy. For another, the film also begins to fold tradition and modernity together in intriguing ways. The camera constantly holds on dark corners and negative spaces — we love a good “What’s in the shadows?” story, don’t we, folks? — but each time the film displays texts and other media (right beside the main character, à la Sherlock or House of Cards), it overlays these messages and videos over dark corners of the screen. At first, the light emanating from them feels like a respite; Yakov retreats into his phone as a distraction from whatever he may (or may not) be seeing. But soon, even his phone — his window into modernity, and his escape from the Litvaks’ home — becomes a source of unease. The personal intimacy of texts, calls and video chats feels uncanny and uncertain when he sees and hears things he shouldn’t even on his screen. Light becomes just as chilling as darkness.

Some of the film’s techniques may feel familiar (especially with regards to jump scares), but the way Thomas & co. capture intimate spaces have a unique finesse. For one thing, the film’s use of anamorphic lenses — so often associated with either portrait-like close-ups or gorgeous landscapes — makes even empty space feel disorienting. A simple pan across the darkness, from a distracted, dimly lit Yakov to the body he’s watching over subtly distorts his own body as he’s pushed to the curved corner of the frame, foreshadowing physical horrors yet to come. Zach Kuperstein’s low-light, high-contrast cinematography is downright eerie. The few times he lets brightness enter the frame, it’s immediately turned into anamorphic flares, with light once again becoming as disorienting as darkness. Whatever the shadowy mazzik comes to represent for Yakov, there’s no escape from it.

Without getting into too much detail, the major exception to this aesthetic approach arrives at a key story moment, when Yakov decides to face his traumas head-on by finally embracing some part of himself he left behind. The scene is lit by Shabbat candles, rather than electric and electronic sources which keep flickering in and out. The candles never waver; thanks to tradition, Yakov briefly knows stability. His embrace involves him wrapping the straps of a tefillin — a black leather box inscribed with Torah verses — around his arm as the music swells. It’s a deeply reconciliatory moment, of a man finding fleeting comfort amidst emotional turbulence, and Yakov’s resolve also makes him feel a boxer taping his wrists before a dangerous fight. Although, on a deeper level, it feels like the bonds between his past and present being reforged, albeit temporarily, as he searches for a path to spiritual healing.

The 25 Best Horror Movies

That aforementioned emotional musical swell is an exception too. It’s the only time Michael Yezerski’s score is populated by traditional string instruments. During the rest of the film, Yezereski fills the soundscape with a combination of deeply unsettling electronic sounds and, if you listen closely, human voices crying out in agony. The music practically saws its way through nerve and muscle until it touches bone; every element of the film is jarring on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper, it reveals something both more spine-chilling and more recognizably human.

Shapeless shadows begin to take familiar forms. Mysterious sounds begin to resemble footsteps. And the performances by Dave Davis and Lynn Cohen force their way past two-dimensional horror tropes — a troubled man who might be an unreliable narrator, and an old woman uncomfortably close to demonic conspiracies — until they become deeply moving portraits of lingering trauma, and the way grief manifests in mind, body, and spirit.



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