The UnholyCast: William Sadler, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Cricket Brown
Author(s): Evan Spiliotopoulos
Director: Evan Spiliotopoulos
Release Date: 17/05/2021
Running Time: 99mins
Deaf-mute girl Alice stuns her congregation by suddenly gaining the power of speech. She claims to have been visited by the Virgin Mary and professes that she can now heal the sick. Alice performs miracles and news of her gift spreads far and wide, piquing the interest of disgraced tabloid journalist Gerry Fenn. He aligns with doctor Natalie Gates to discover the shocking truth about Alice's newfound powers.
LondonNet Film Review
The Unholy (15)
According to writer-director Evan Spiliotopoulos’s hoary horror thriller, the Vatican rigorously applies three scientific tests to a claim of miraculous healing: the illness must be incurable, the cure must be instantaneous and the cure must be complete. It is safe to conclude, without the involvement of an inquisitor, that The Unholy won’t be confirmed as a miracle of modern moviemaking. Laden with familiar religious imagery – statues crying tears of blood, combusting crucifixes – this blundering battle between a disgraced tabloid journalist and a demonic force intent on claiming human souls is a tepid adaptation of James Herbert’s best-selling book Shrine…
A hooded spectre with staccato, spider-like body movements, reminiscent of vengeful, long-haired ghost Sadako in Japanese horror Ringu, wreaks havoc for a little over an hour and a half. Not once do we twitch nervously in our seats let alone jump as Spiliotopoulos unleashes his otherworldly antagonist from the shadows accompanied by a hellish caterwaul. Silent prayers for consistent visual effects go unanswered: one scene of words from a holy incantation melting off the page may be neat but a pivotal character’s fiery fate at an altar is wholly unconvincing.
Gerry Fenn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) “wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $6,000” in his glory days working for The Examiner, when he falsified stories to bolster his profile. Now, he is reduced to begging for commissions, like his current assignment investigating possible Satanic interference with a cow in the sleepy Massachusetts community of Banfield. The bovine affair is attributed to a teenage heavy metal fan but Gerry unwittingly stumbles upon a bigger story: a deaf-mute girl called Alice Pagett (Cricket Brown), who gains the power of speech after a visitation from the Virgin Mary.
In front of an awe-struck flock, Alice’s touch allows a boy with muscular dystrophy (Danny Corbo) to walk and her wheezing uncle, local priest Father Hagan (William Sadler), to breathe easily after chronic emphysema. A media circus engulfs Banfield but Gerry has exclusive access to Alice as she waxes lyrical about her beloved Mary. “Spread her word and be rewarded!” the girl implores Gerry. The Catholic Church dispatches Monsignor Delgarde (Diogo Morgado) to assess Alice’s divinity. Meanwhile, seeds of doubt sprout in Gerry’s mind and he joins forces with medic Natalie Gates (Katie Aselton) to expose a dark secret buried more than 150 years ago in Banfield’s cursed soil.
The Unholy bows down at the altar of Insidious, The Conjuring and countless spooky imitators. Spiliotopoulos’s script lacks strong, clearly defined characters as it labours a central thesis about the power of faith to corrupt and redeem. Morgan navigates gargantuan leaps in logic and plausibility but even he can’t atone for sinfully clunky dialogue. Hail Mary? Absolutely not.
– Kim Hu
UK and Irish Cinemas Showing The Unholy
From: Friday 18th June
To: Thursday 24th June
Fri-Wed 18:15 20:50
Sun 20:30; Wed 20:50
Sat 22:25; Mon 20:40
Fri/Sat 21:35; Sun 20:35; Mon 15:45; Tue 20:50
From: Friday 25th June
To: Thursday 1st July
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