FILM REVIEW | The Unholy

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a good actor.

Sadly, though, his choice in films leaves a lot to be desired.

His latest, horror movie The Unholy, continues the trend of Texas Killing Fields and The Postcard Killings and is less than impressive.

That said, it definitely could have been a whole lot worse.

The Unholy follows fallen paranormal journo Gerry Fenn (Morgan) as he stumbles on what looks like a case of a genuine holy miracle in a small Massachusetts town.

While on the road investigating a possible cattle mutilation, Fenn finds an old 'kern doll' buried at the foot of an impressive tree.

He breaks the doll - which is purportedly bad luck - to make for a better story, but soon enough finds that the ward of the local priest has gone through some unexplainable changes.

The girl, Alice (newcomer Cricket Brown), suddenly becomes able to speak and hear after a lifetime of silence.

And not only does she speak, she starts preaching the word of 'The Lady' - the Virgin Mary who appears to her as a face encompassed by blinding white light.

Mild horror: Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Katie Aselton star in new religious horror film The Unholy, rated M, in cinemas now. Picture: Sony Pictures Releasing

Mild horror: Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Katie Aselton star in new religious horror film The Unholy, rated M, in cinemas now. Picture: Sony Pictures Releasing

She heals others and becomes a figure of religious idolatry herself.

But, of course, all is not as it seems and evil forces are at bay.

While the story is not too terrible for a low-budget horror, it's the execution that's lacking.

There are a few effective jump scares (although those who love horrors will see them coming a mile away), but then there's also some quite dated satanic imagery (with poor CGI) that brings down the whole effect.

For a movie that's only passable, the acting is pretty decent. Brown portrays the pure, pristine, wide-eyed innocence of Alice really well, while Morgan manages to slip a little of his natural charm into his fairly unlikeable character.

Cary Elwes (Stranger Things) is a surprise treat - his overacting is actually enjoyable - and while Diogo Morgado's accent as Monsignor Delgarde is a little sketchy, he is also an interesting character. Williams Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption) and Katie Aselton (Legion) round out the main cast as Father Hagan and local doctor Natalie.

Rating: 5/10

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