The Unholy starts out with an interesting plot and has a couple of good actors/actresses throughout. However, the horror element is basically non-existent because of how the villain looks or reacts and how unnecessary her character ends up being. All that without mentioning just how stupid the religious elements are. But that’s not a surprise, isn’t it?
THE STORY AND SCRIPT
Even for a horror movie, this is bad writing, acting, and effects. And it’s barely a horror movie with just a few cheap jump scares. It feels like this was secretly supported by the Catholic Church to try and sermonize the heathen that would dare watch a religious-themed horror movie. Not only does good win over evil, but it’s in a very preachy way. If the main theme was to show good prevails over evil, there was no need to use religion for that job. We all know good and religion don’t go well with each other.
The tension is definitely present, however, I think the main villain is fleshed out as an evil spirit too much, from the very first scene of her execution to the removal of her mask which seemed redundant. I know many people downvoted it straight after the trailer because they thought that it disrespects religion but it’s completely the opposite. The movie portrays religion in a positive light with Mary not actually being the Virgin Mary but being someone else. The positive view is shown mostly towards the end, with attempted use of holy scriptures to resolve the conflict and a certain miracle performed by god, and the entire movie revolving around a single biblical quote.
From the very first minute, there were bad directing decisions. How the Inciting Incident happens is the biggest example. The cursed doll which was not touched by anyone for hundreds of years is unsurprisingly found by our lead. How? Because a voice calls him. Like it never needed to call anyone for the past 150+ years. Also, I think the film would’ve been profoundly better had it not been known that Mary was some evil spirit of a witch or that she was even a witch because that took away the mystery element of the story and made it feel very hollow. It also forced the movie to rely on CGI and poor jump scares. Finally, the climax was even poorer. The villain dies because the person that makes her exist dies. That’s good but then the dead hero wakes up. How? Because our lead prays to god for her life. Yeah, I know. So, what about the villain? She remains dead because god wants her to. I really wanted to add a laughing emoji here. So, where was god for the remainder of the movie? In fact, where is god in the real world? He can listen to a random man’s plea but not of the billions who suffer actual pain? That’s not me, that’s just what the movie is implying. And the villain kills everyone without time and remorse but when it comes to our hero, she becomes an ant (That can’t even bite).
The dialogue for a lot of the movie was shockingly poor. There wasn’t much wit, even in the character who was clearly meant to be witty. All the characters were barely flushed out. The characters also kept harping on singular facets of things that, though slightly relevant, were not the whole cake. Take our lead, for example, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He works at a small newspaper company but was once a top reporter. He lost his career because of fabricating stories for fame. How do we know this? Because we are just told about it. We never actually see or feel this side of him. Even in the end, when he has a chance to get it all back, he gives it away in order to save Alice. Of course, transformation is an important part of a character but we never feel his development that’s why we never understand this when it happens. And talking about Alice then even her choice to choose the good, in the end, is a problem because there is no real trigger for it. For all the runtime we see her as the biggest believer in Mary and she just goes against her because someone pleads for it. She never actually sees the evil side of her before making this decision. This just feels like one of those poorly written or rushed decisions in the script.
Too preachy and the acting was not exactly stellar. The Director could’ve done a better job putting the storyline together. That’s a shame because the special effects were really good and the concept of the story was actually pretty decent. Visually, the movie was actually pretty decent certain shots were really good but the cohesiveness was not quite right. More disappointing were the clichés and handling of character arcs. I’m not saying it needs to be Oscar-worthy but try to have a little bit more depth. It was lacking.
K- Score: 26%
STW: 2/30, D: 2/25, C: 4/8, E: 2/5, PVD: 7/12, A: 3/10, S: 6/10