When a deaf teenage girl sees the Virgin Mary in the trunk of the scariest-looking tree on the planet, disgraced journalist Gerry Fenn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) stumbles across another bigger story while investigating an incident of “cattle mutilation” in a small Massachusetts town. She performs a couple of miracle cures, quivering with religious joy, and when news gets out—thanks to Fenn’s stories—her small town transforms into a modern-day Lourdes. Is the Virgin Mary, though, who she claims to be? “The Unholy,” based on James Herbert’s 1983 novel Shrine, is a fairly traditional religious horror film that arrives just in time for Good Friday. It has some great jump scares, but the execution is a little rote.
Fenn is a shambles. He invented a bunch of stories ten years ago while on staff at a national newspaper, was caught, and exiled to his now-horrible life of having to drive long distances to interview some delusional farmer who doesn’t know the Metallica logo on his cow’s rear-end. Fenn drinks a lot, exudes a grizzled cynicism, and doesn’t appear to be the kind to be wowed by a young girl’s bizarre fantasies of a whispering glowing Virgin Mary, but he swallows it whole. The girl in question, Alice (Cricket Brown), is the niece of the local Catholic priest, Father Hagen (William Sadler). Alice has been deaf since birth, but she can now hear and speak thanks to her vision. IMDB