The Unholy is the latest Screen Gems movie to come, see and conquer in the lightest way possible. If this movie feels familiar, it’s because it’s the kind of movie that Blumhouse stopped making a few years ago. Then, WWE Films, WB and others continued to run into the ground. The Unholy features religion in the slightest way to create an atmosphere to allow for what would barely qualify as a summer TV-movie/backdoor pilot. While that might sound overly mean, let’s dive deeper.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan leads the film as a former journalist who got busted faking stories. Now, he’s going around try to bust fake stories to stage a career comeback. When a local Massachusetts town with a habit of putting supernatural enthusiast women to death runs into trouble, Morgan comes running. While he wants to debunk some supernatural events tied to a deaf mute influencer, he can’t help but notice the miracles.
What’s strange is why they chose to evoke Black Sabbath in the opening of the film. A wise man once said if you reference a better film in another film, your film better be able to hold its own. Anyways…back to The Unholy. I dig the idea of a woman being possessed by a spirit that commands her to indoctrinate others to Satanism. This is all brought on by a doll that was used in the past to capture the original woman’s soul during the opening execution.
There is a trend in the last decade of horror movies to stage supernatural events as something to be investigated in a derivative Pakula fashion. Everyone is investigating and trying to punch holes through anything supernatural. Then, they fall on their knees and confirm that religious mythology is real. You can swap in any supernatural horror from 2010 to now and it works.
Katie Aselton shows up to remind the world that The League has been over for a hot minute. It’s pretty cool, but I wish she had more to do than being the supporting female lead. I get they needed a doctor to explain away the health implications and why the deaf mute girl can suddenly talk. But, The Unholy isn’t really interested in the science of everything. They just want to use The Church and its related activity to show that the supernatural can beat your disbelief.
Everything about The Unholy is symbolic of the kind of things that began with Insidious and The Conjuring. Films of this nature existed before that, but the trend about everything in modern horror is to confirm what little the main characters know. As a student of horror cinema, the push to have horror about horror not being real but still real enough to scare you is crazy. Don’t follow?
Well, the problem with that is it makes everything generic. The Unholy wants to show that The Catholic Church uses the sins of their past to encourage interest in the modern Church. Yet, they are also subject to supernatural vengeance that only impacts them when try to upend their own means of promotion. Then, there’s the whole angle with the teen girl demon influencer and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
That’s a lot of plates to spin with no real reason to spin them. I see this happen so much with modern horror and supernatural tales. It’s insane and it leaves me wondering why people even bother. The worst recent example has been Hulu’s False Positive. Don’t worry, people…we’ll get to that one sooner than later.
The Unholy Blu-ray comes with a Digital Copy as the sole special features. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp for a recent release. I dig the 1080p transfer, but wonder what it would have looked like as a 4K title. Really surprised on that front due to this movie having Sony ties. Oh well, it’s still worth a stream.