If watching a bad movie is against God, then bless me Father for I have sinned by watching The Unholy (2021).
Before we proceed to my full review please check out Get Me More’s excellent analysis of The Unholy (2021) below
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This supernatural horror film is directed by Evan Spilitopoulos in his directorial debut, based off his screenplay which is an adaptation of the novel Shrine written by English horror author James Herbert. Ironically, I think this movie would have better served as a book or a miniseries, its concept is deep, but the execution is as poor as an honest man.
Reasons to watch The Unholy:
- The direction: Even though Spiliotopoulos’s writing needed several rewrites, his filmmaking skills are evidently eye-capturing, especially in terms of The Unholy being his first feature film
- The cinematography: This theological horror flick looks great especially in terms of its low budget. Craig Wrobleski – who is best known for working on critically acclaimed TV series such as Legion (now that’s one of the best-looking shows to release in the past 5 years, in my opinion), Fargo, and The Umbrella Academy, as well as Netflix’s adaptation of Stephen King and Joe Hill’s novella In the Tall Grass – doesn’t disappoint and his direction of photography is what makes this snooze fest worth watching at least from a visual perspective.
- The star power: OK the cast might not be A-list but just like Wrobleski’s being well-known for cinematographing TV shows, we have a TV show star-studded ensemble comprising of Jeffrey Dean Morgan (whose character is like a cross between The Walking Dead’s Negan and Supernatural’s John Winchester), Katie Aselton (The League, Legion), Christine Adams (Black Lightning), William Sadler (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and Cary Elwes (Stranger Things, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).
Reasons not to watch The Unholy:
- Poor execution: As mentioned early on in this review, the narrative is good but the follow-through is weak.
- Predictability: Maybe for those who don’t watch many horror movies this one comes across as at least semi-predictable, but for avid horror movie and series watchers, as well as constant readers of the horror variety, the events of the second half can be easily forecasted from miles away.
- The CGI: Again, for a 99 minutes film, the CGI is great in the first 60 minutes but afterwards it reminded me of that boss battle in the pilot episode of Jupiter’s Legacy. The CGI in the last 40 minutes is horrendous and I am wondering on what the majority of the film’s $10 million was spent on.
To top it off, The Unholy delivers a super anti-climactic ending. I can only recommend The Unholy to people who are either fans of the primary cast, readers of the source material looking to satisfy their curiosity, viewers who haven’t watched that many films in the scary category, or those who saw Sam Raimi’s producer credit in the trailer (fooled me once!), or people just have no other form of entertainment to consume at that time.