Are you ready to step foot on unholy ground?
Award-winning Director, Evan Spiliotopoulos, of Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Snake Eyes (2021) brings experience and depth to The Unholy (2021).
The Unholy is based on the late James Herbert’s 1983 book, Shrine – a horror novel exploring religious ecstasy, mass hysteria, demonic possession, faith healing, and Catholicism.
Herbert is given writer credit, while Spiliotopoulos is recognized as the film’s screenwriter. He creates a world that revolves around the persistence of evil, and the possibility of redemption in The Unholy. Spiliotopoulos weaves a unique story that exhibits an almost ethereal quality, holding to the book’s essential themes.
The exceptional cast is lead by Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead, Supernatural TV), who portrays disgraced, fame-seeking, alcoholic journalist Gerry Fenn. Cricket Brown (Dukeland, Polaroid) plays spiritual conduit Alice Paget, Father Hagen’s niece born with speech and hearing loss.
Another strong actor in the cast of The Unholy, is William Sadler (Hawaii Five-O, Hudson Falls), starring as Father Hagen, the caretaker to Alice (Brown) and the small Catholic church at the center of the religious occurrence. British-born Carey Ewles (Princess Bride, Stranger Things) is a strong casting choice as Bishop Gyles. The casting chemistry is exceptional. The wealth of acting experience is apparent, lending a feeling of ease and confidence to the characters.
Film production was overseen by Ghost House Pictures, known for the Don’t Breathe and The Grudge franchises, and distributed in the United States by Screen Gems.
The Unholy follows Alice, a young girl struggling with hearing and speech loss. Alice is incurable, according to the town doctor, Natalie Gates (Aselton). As Gerry Fenn (Morgan) arrives in the small New England town looking for a shocking story to redeem himself as a journalist, he meets Alice.
Fenn (Morgan) is initially present in the old churchyard for Alice’s vision of a woman named Mary. He sees firsthand the experience that restores Alice’s hearing and speech. After which, she begins to tell everyone in the town about the woman, the Virgin Mary.
But, seeking only fame, Fenn (Morgan) sees a story that will restore his career. Unfortunately, evil is resurrected instead. Fenn’s fatherly affection for Alice (Brown), and a growing sense of obligation, force him to investigate the unexplained danger.
Filmed in Sudbury, Massachusetts, the movie is subtle. Cursory comparisons to Father Karras kept jumping to mind. The Unholy is not gory; it is scary. Well-placed demons, a few stylized screen effects, and The Grudge-style motion graphics tell the story without being overdone.
The Unholy was thoroughly entertaining. It was a solid story of true evil, the power of belief, and redemption with solid characters and strong performances. There were strong themes to keep you thinking and just enough “jumps” to keep you watching—an excellent spooky film suitable for family night or even alone.
Take a peek at the spooky trailer for “The Unholy!”