The streaming boom has been great for horror films. It has given many forgotten gems from both the distant and recent past their time in the spotlight. And right now, an overlooked recent release is shooting up the streaming charts, thanks, in part to its star, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
According to FlixPatrol, The Unholy is currently the 9th most popular movie on Amazon Prime Video. First released in April of 2021. The film is produced and directed by Evan Spiliotopoulos and the legendary Sam Raimi. It features a great cast, aside from Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It also features Katie Aselton, William Sadler, Diogo Morgado, Cricket Brown, and Cary Elwes.
The film is based on horror legend James Herbert’s 1983 novel Shrine. It follows Gerry Fenn, a disgraced journalist who now reports on the strange and unusual. While in Boston for a story, he encounters a girl called Alice. After seeing her speak and then collapse, Fenn takes Alice to the local church, where he learns that the girl couldn’t have said anything because she is deaf and mute.
However, the next day, Alice says that she was visited by the Virgin Mary, curing her of her condition and giving her the power to heal the sick. Soon the town is awash with news of various miracles, and Fenn, hoping this could relaunch his career, decides to investigate. However, while doing this, he learns that something much more sinister could be happening and that both the town and Alice may be in danger.
The film did well when it was released. It made $15.5 million in the United States and $30.8 million globally. During its opening weekend, it was the second most popular film. Only being beaten by Godzilla vs. Kong. However, the film didn’t do well with critics, with it getting mixed and mediocre reviews, leading to a critic score of only 25%. Many felt that the film wasn’t scary, with many pointing out that the film reused tropes that other religious films had done better in the past. On top of this, many argued that the film was predictable and that the ending felt like an anti-climax.
This carried through to the viewer score, which currently sits at 57%. Many viewers felt the same as critics, with a few also feeling that the movie relied too heavily on jump scares. However, many also say that they found the film to be simple but fun. That while not an instant classic, is sure to hold you to the very end.
The Unholy is a fascinating film that is perfect for the build-up to Halloween. Unlike Steven King, James Herbert’s work rarely gets adapted to the big screen, so it is always fascinating to see how directors handle his unique style. While The Unholy could have been better, the intriguing plot and the excellent cast help elevate the film, leading to a fun horror romp that is the perfect movie-night film.