Movie #22 2023: The Unholy (2021)

Ughhhh. Sometimes I just dislike a movie so much that I don’t even want to review it. Expect this to be short, because the fact that it’s wasting even more of my life than it already has is actually really distressing to me. (Just so you know, I just procrastinated for about 20 minutes in the middle of writing this first paragraph purely because I don’t want to write it.)

So without further ado – mainly to get it out of the way – a brief summary of The Unholy. Basically, it’s a religious horror movie. Featuring a main character of a hearing-impaired and mute girl named Alice who is apparently visited by the Virgin Mary, the film begins with her being ‘healed’ as a result of it. Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars as a disgraced journalist who is doing everything he can to find something worthy enough to write about that will get him back into more respectable circles, and he just so happens to stumble upon the New England town in which this is all taking place. Of course, this being a horror movie, it all takes a frightening turn when Morgan’s character realises that the being that visited Alice wasn’t the Virgin Mary after all.

Blah blah blah. You’ve heard it all before. This is pretty much the same as any other religious horror you’ll ever see. My Father-in-law chose this for family movie night and now I may never trust him to choose a movie again. Damn it, Gary. Alas, I guess he wasn’t to know.

Mostly, I’m just really confused about why Jeffrey Dean Morgan would go within five feet of this film. Surely they promised 50% of the budget to him because this is the most predictable, formulaic twaddle I’ve seen in a horror film in recent times. There’s no doubt he led The Unholy just to make a quick buck after The Walking Dead. Every idea it has is taken directly from The Conjuring or films akin to it, and to those who claimed that the plot wasted its potential? What potential? The plot is literally identical to every other religion-led horror movie ever made. There was no potential to begin with. 

What makes it all even worse is that it’s fucking tedious the entire way through… and it’s only 99 minutes long?! After 30 minutes I felt like I’d already done 75 of them, so imagine my pain when I realised I wasn’t even a third of the way through. You know that emoji where there’s a little smiley face melting into the ground? That was me from that moment on. 

Aesthetically, there’s absolutely nothing unique to report either. The camerawork is standard, the imagery is done to death (blood pouring out of a statue of the Virgin Mary’s eyes? Come the fuck ooooon), and the CGI is even more substandard than similar horror films. They could have simply rectified that final point with some good make up artists, and yet they spent actual, hard-earned money on crappy special effects. Unfathomable.

I will say that Jeffrey Dean Morgan does try his best and puts in a decent performance overall, even if he probably knew it was awful at the time. Oh, and his voice in nice. 1 star.

The Unholy is currently available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

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