Saturday is Horror Day #49 – The Unholy (2021), V/H/S 94

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Unholy (2021)

Gerry Feen (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a journalist who’s lucky to receive any assignments at all, considering the colossal blunder which basically destroyed his career. He’s in no position to argue when he’s sent to cover a story about a cow in rural Massachusetts. The story proves to be bogus, to Feen’s dismay. But he’s determined to write something, so when he discovers a strange doll buried in the hollow at the base of a tree, he smashes it and then photographs it in an attempt to make something out of nothing. Little does he realize what he has done.

While standing near the tree, Fenn encounters a strange young woman who appears to be in a trance. She 

kneels before the tree, as if mesmerized by it, and speaks strange words he doesn’t understand. When he tries to help her, she faints and he carries her to the church, to seek the aid of the priest, Father Hagan (William Sadler). It turns out the girl is his niece Alice (Cricket Brown). But Hagan tells Fenn he couldn’t have heard her speak, as she is deaf and mute. But something strange happens when she comes to – she can hear and speak! And she says it’s because she saw the Virgin Mary!


Realizing this is a much better story, Fenn persuades his editor that he needs to stay on it as he grows close to the young woman. Strange things begin to happen, including Alice curing a young boy who couldn’t walk previously. People are drawn to the church, seeking out the young miracle worker, and a media frenzy ensues. But she trusts Fenn, who gains sole access to her. Of course the church steps in in the form of Bishop Gyles (Cary Elwes) as well as Monsignor Delgarde (Diogo Morgado), who is playing devil’s advocate before the church will declare Banfield, Massachusetts to be a shrine.


But all is not as it appears to be, as Fenn delves into the story more deeply, and he begins to realize that appearances can be deceiving. But can he save the people who are so willing to believe that they can’t recognize evil when it’s staring them in the face?

This isn’t necessarily a new trope, a demonic entity posing as a holy one. I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan in everything he does and he does well here as the disgraced journalist who sees what needs to be done and is willing to do what is right, no matter the cost. Cricket Brown is sufficiently naive and compelling as Alice, who means well but doesn’t realize she is being used. This is a Sam Raimi film, so of course production values are high. But even so, I’ve seen this played out better. I wouldn’t say don’t watch it, Morgan is worth the price of admission alone. Just don’t look for The Exorcist. I’ll give this film 3 Stars.

V/H/S 94

A SWAT team searches a warehouse in what they think is a drug bust, but nothing makes sense… from the various corpses with gouged-out eyes to the static-filled television sets.

A news reporter and her cameraman are sent on location to cover a story concerning a local cryptid 

known as the Rat Man, who supposedly lives in the storm drains. Holly, the reporter, interviews a local man just outside the storm drain, just before her boss tells her to take the story into the drain. Holly is reluctant before she agrees in order to stay out of the creepy man’s line of sight. She and Jeff, the cameraman, make their way inside as they begin to discover strange things, including a man who must be the Rat Man they’re looking for. But then they discover more than they bargained for.

A funeral home is requested to video record the wake of a loved one throughout the night. A young woman named Hailey is assigned the task of keeping vigil while the wake takes place. She chooses to read in order to pass the time. However, she begins to hear strange noises and calls her boss to suggest maybe the deceased isn’t quite deceased, but her boss assures her that is not the case, and the condition of the body precludes any chance of his being alive. A storm rages outside, with occasional power outages, which unnerve Hailey. A man shows up for the wake, stands before the casket and speaks in Hungarian before making his departure. During the next power outage, Hailey is dismayed to find the coffin not only has been knocked down, but it is now open and empty.


A mad scientist is performing experiments on test subjects – willing or unwilling – intent on fusing flesh and metal. The SWAT team arrives and mayhem ensues as they shoot what they perceive as monsters. One soldier recognizes a young woman as a girl reported missing who is being sought and he urges leniency. But his commanding officer is adamant that she not live either. 


An extremist military group with sedition on its mind have a compound somewhere in Detroit, Michigan. They intend to purge evil from America. But these men are not the simple garden variety of crazy. They are holding a vampire prisoner, and they keep siphoning his blood  which becomes explosive when exposed to sunlight. Oh the plans that they make!

Once again we have a collection of found VHS footage, seemingly separate stories, but are they? The tale which binds these together is that of the SWAT team, but watch carefully as the others have their ties.

These stories are definitely original and very creative, and most decidedly gory. This series is not for the faint at heart. I think my favorite two stories were Storm Drain, about the lady reporter and the Rat Man, which has an unexpected twist and ending, and The Subject, with the crazy mad scientist who loves his metal prosthetics. I have enjoyed this whole series, and this latest entry is no exception. I hope they continue to make these, but I couldn’t find any information either way. Well worth the watch, I give this one 4 Stars.

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