Horror movies with religious themes date back as far as the cinema industry itself but this past year has seen a real prevalence in this specific field from Rose Glass’ BIFA award-winning Saint Maud through to last week’s release of The Seventh Day. Another film all set to follow in the same spirit is Evan Spiliotopoulos’ The Unholy which has secured a rather fitting release date: Good Friday.
Adapted for the screen and directed by Spiliotopoulos, based on James Herbert’s 1983 novel “Shrine,” the film follows Alice, a young hearing-impaired girl who is suddenly able to hear, speak and heal the sick after supposedly having received a visit from the Virgin Mary herself. As the news spreads and people flock to Alice’s New England home town from far and wide to witness the miracles, a disgraced journalist (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) sets about investigating the hysteria in the hopes of reviving his career. When shocking occurrences start happening though, he starts to question whether these phenomena are the works of the Virgin Mary or something much more sinister.
Ahead of this Friday’s release, SCREAM caught up with Spiliotopoulos who revealed how he has been itching to get an adaptation of Herbert’s book off the ground since first reading it in his early teens and how Screen Gem’s recently implemented new agenda resulted in him teaming up with an exemplary horror movie mentor, Sam Raimi.
Words: Howard Gorman