Horror film warns against blind trust

By Grace Rodriguez

ashes to ashes—The entity Mary is exposed and burned to the ground.

Director and writer Evan Spilotopulous’ film “The Unholy” was the right amount of intense but most noteworthy, was its ability to maintain the mystery element. While the release date was overshadowed by the much -anticipated “Godzilla v Kong,” the film is still a hit among horror movie enthusiasts. 

The film reiterates the message, “beware of false prophets.” It blends religion and horror well. It can definitely be put up against some of the greatest horror movies for originality. While the concept of blending religion and horror is not new, Spilotopulous manages to showcase the power of faith in a non-preachy manner. 

However, the biggest hang-up with the film is the fact that viewers go into the film with much anticipation. By the end of the film the question of what is going to happen is answered, but the question of why remains. The purpose of the film is one that is questionable overall. But for what the film is, the mystery element makes it interesting enough to want to watch in the first place. 

The opening scene, meant to foreshadow the plot that is unraveled later in the movie, shows what appears to be a ‘crucifiction’ of a woman. The scene is a perfectly dramatic precursor for viewers to be introduced to the mystery that is to come. 

A quick change in mood leads viewers to meet Gerry Fenn, the main character played by Jeffree Dean Morgan who is best known for his work on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Gerry Fenn is a struggling journalist desperate for a story. Fenn has a character arc that is more prominent than any other character in the film. 

In the beginning, viewers are introduced to a Gerry that has serious baggage and was recently exposed for fabricating stories at his previous job. Although Fenn comes off as a famed-crazed journalist, his growth throughout the film emphasizes his redemption arc. 

The cast is well chosen. Monsignor Delgarde, played by Diogo Morgado is stellar in his role as the investigator of miracles on behalf of the church. His character acts as an in-film critic discussing realistic scenarios the film could  have taken, leaving no stone unturned. This really grounds the film well and helps with plot holes. 

Dr. Natalie Gates, played by Katie Aselton, is a minor character at first, but becomes essential to the plot later in the film. While she plays the character well, the film could have been well off without her character. Still her acting leaves viewers wanting to see more of the doctor after each scene. 

Alice, played by Cricket Brown, is the most essential character of the film. She is the catalyst of the mystery. Cricket Brown shines in this role. Her facial expressions and overall aloofness are well-played. 

Father Hagan, played by William Sadler is Alice’s uncle and caretaker. The role suits Sadler well. He manages to be a likable character with traits that are not always honorable. Most notable of this character is not the execution of the acting, instead it is Spilotopulous’ use of the character to showcase his wordsmithing abilities. The line, “There’s nothing Satan loves more than to disturb our faith” is just one example where viewers cannot help but hang on to every word. 

The film stood out from others because it was not afraid to kill off some of the most likable characters. This gave viewers a sense of an unresolved ending just before the actual resolution making its twists that much more powerful. 

The film’s message, “Beware of false prophets.” is interesting. How much of this message applies to our world today is subjective, but the movie as whole is still worth the watch. It is not for the faint of heart as there are plenty of jump-scares. 

“The Unholy” sold out a few showtimes in different cities and completely sold out in Downey and Norwalk this Friday. 

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