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"The Unholy": Nathan's Movie Review

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.


It really breaks my heart when films show so much promise but can't quite deliver what they offered. The concept that The Unholy offered was interesting, but the subject matter was either not explored enough or just not explored correctly to begin with.

The film follows Gerry Fenn, a journalist who is sent to a small town in Massachusetts to investigate a supposed cow mutilation. What he finds is an old folktale that he decides to use to his advantage to get the press he needs to skyrocket his career. Gerry meets a young deaf girl named Alice who suddenly is healed after claiming to see Mother Mary. Mary gives her the power to heal and in exchange, she requires their eternal devotion and faith. Gerry starts to slowly realize that there may be more evil than good behind these "miracles".

Let me just say that the film had equal amounts of good and bad components. The acting, the premise, and the conclusion are all good and intriguing. What the film doesn't get right is the story progression and the use of amateurish jump-scares that really were not needed. The worst thing about it, however, was how inaccurate it was. If you're going to base your story around the Catholic faith, maybe you should research the amount of proof the Vatican requires before it approves the building of a shrine or how the Church sends out handpicked priests to investigate so-called "miracles" before just claiming this girl is telling the truth. The Church definitely would not rely on a shady journalist to report on whether the events are real or not. There's just so much flimsy circumstantial storytelling that wouldn't fly in reality.

As far as what the film did right, it sparked a good conversation with an interesting idea. Can some miracles be evil in disguise? Is God the only miracle worker or can Satan conjure up some magic of his own? Have any of these "sightings" of Mary or Jesus in various places actually been a trick for some kind of long-con scheme? Moral of the story is, and one I feel the film displayed nicely, is that you have to be careful what you put your faith in. "Beware false prophets" the Bible states. But how do you tell the false prophets from the true ones?

In conclusion, the film tried to be as deep as Exorcism of Emily Rose but didn't quite hit that mark. It's certainly no Insidious but it pulled off what it needed to. Now if the horror genre could just learn to move away from these cheap jump-scares, we'll be making some progress. I give the film a 2 out of 4.

© 2021 Nathan Jasper

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