Directed by: Evan Spiliotopoulos
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Cricket Brown, Katie Aselton, Cary Elwes, William Sadler
Runtime: 99 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for violent content, terror and some strong language.)
This week’s review could have went two ways. We had The Unholy (Horror) and Voyagers (Sci-Fi.) Our co-reviewer, Abby, chose The Unholy. I was intrigued by this film. It’s no secret I LOVE horror movies, even if there are never any good ones out. The lead is also great. You’ll know Jeffrey Dean Morgan from The Walking Dead. A fun fact, he was also in a horror movie called The Possession in 2012. It was average. I think I own it. For the new release, I learned this was based on a book called Shrine written in 1983 by James Herbert. From the trailers we had watched the last few weeks, it looked like your typical possession film. This has been the first horror movie of the year, so the stakes were high.
Onto the film.
We opened in 1845. We are looking through a mask in first-person. Someone is tied to a tree and a mask is being nailed to their face. Ominous music plays in the background. It looks as if there is a town mob after someone. The screen goes black.
We then open in present-day in Boston, Massachusetts and meet our protagonist named Gerry Fenn (Morgan.) Fenn is a reporter working as a contributing columnist on all things eerie. It’s implied his image and reputation is tarnished, so he is taking any work that he will get. He’s being told of a story involving livestock in a small town outside of Boston. Off Gerry goes.
When he arrives in town, he realizes this story has no teeth to it. He then finds a CREEPY doll known as a “Kern Baby” and smashes it to fake a picture and story. OBVIOUSLY, a demon was released. Abigail and I saw Airplane! A few weeks ago. That’s a comedy. I didn’t expect this to be one as well. Once the kern doll is smashed, we start to see demons and spirits. The CGI is AWFUL. This looks like it was filmed in the early 90s. I heard her chuckle a few times, and I did as well. We met Alice, a hearing-impaired girl, who speaks to the tree where the kern baby was broken. The same tree from 1845. Miraculously she begins to speak and hear. This leads to news outlets flocking to see this tree. Is it a holy shrine???
Various members of the town have miracles bestowed upon them. Little Timmy (I don’t think that’s his name) asks if he will be able to walk again. He does. He then joins the soccer team.
The story plays out, as you can imagine. Jump scares (but with terrible graphics), terrible dialogue, and a cookie-cutter plot. Imagine a LIFETIME movie with a horror spin on it. BAD. VERY BAD. This isn’t the worst film I’ve seen. I enjoyed the cast. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is always great. The supporting cast lead by The Princess´Bride’s Carey Elwes works as the Bishop. They couldn’t save this film, though. You will jump at times. Creatures and demons pop up, and it was surprisingly fun. We laughed and mocked the lines after the movie was over, but this was NOT a horror film. You could do worse with an hour and a half. Great date night film, but be warned. It is forgettable. Abby says 3 stars out of 5. WAY too kind. She didn’t want to be mean with her rating. Sorry…..1 ½ stars out of 5. Go see Godzilla vs. Kong.
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper