Unholy (DVD)

Unholy review!Starring Adrienne Barbeau and Nicholas Brendon

Directed by Daryl Goldberg

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment

Oh, there was so much going for Unholy. It had Adrienne Barbeau and Buffy‘s Nicholas Brendon in a story about Nazi experiments with time travel, invisibility and mind control. Potential was over flowing from the cup of creativity, but someone pissed it in. Yes, a golden stream of potent urine sprayed down on what could have been a full and complex tale, transforming it into something awful.

Mother of two, Martha (Barbeau), has just returned home with some flowers for her daughter’s birthday. However, the celebration is cut short when young Hope shoots herself right in front of her mother’s eyes! While trying to cope with the loss, Martha discovers a tape in which Hope describes grueling experiments performed by the Necromancer. This recording rips open the flood gates that were holding back government conspiracies, Nazis, and rampant violence. Will Martha and her stoner son Lucas (Brendon) solve the mystery of their loved one’s suicide, before the Necromancer claims his next victim?!

Unholy review(click to see it bigger)Fuck! That sounds really, really good. It is just too bad that the filmmakers couldn’t pull it off. Only a few minutes into the movie the viewer starts to feel the pain as actors, who have shown skill in the past, run through their roles as if each scene is just in the rehearsal stages. After Hope’s suicide Barbeau simply stops reacting to anything that happens around her. This could be blamed on the make-up and lighting department; they didn’t do her any favors. An old woman gets shot and a second suicide occurs right in front of her are both met with a blank stare. There’s no yell, tear or even a simple “holy shit.” That signals bad times ahead.

If you can get past the nonreactive acting there is the plot to deal with. After a few wild goose chases we learn that a secret Nazi group is working on the Unholy Trinity of experiments for the U.S. government: invisibility, mind control, and time travel. As the movie progresses it is revealed that these three things were being tested on Martha, Hope and Lucas. It is just too bad we never actually see these experiments. All the audience does know is that being able to Doc Brown-it back to the future requires you to be strapped to a chair and tortured. Thanks, but I’ll take a nuclear powered DeLorean over that any day. What about how the art of going unseen comes to fruition? No idea. Mind control, maybe? Can we at least know how an apparently under-funded bunch of Nazis can accomplish something our own government can’t with unlimited resources?! Even less information is given in regards to that, because it leads to ::DRUM ROLL:: the third act plot twist!

I won’t spoil it for you, but be warned that it is followed by a very unconvincing and slightly vomit inducing sex scene. Come to think of it, that was the only aspect of Unholy that affected me emotionally and physically. Everything else in this picture was met with a quick check of the running time to see if the torture would be over. Anyone who made it through this should be granted the ability to travel back in time and obtain the distribution rights and keep Unholy far far from the public.

Unholy review(click to see it bigger)Yet, since this was unleashed to horror fans we do have to preform the public service of warning you that there are no redeeming qualities about this DVD. Well, maybe there is one. Let’s check out the supplements! The commentary with director Daryl Goldberg and writer Sam Freeman is the only special feature that matters, but not in a good way. Anyone who suffered through the movie once and expects to get some explanation about the missing plot elements or at the very least an apology will be let down. I honestly expected to hear, “Dudes, we’re so sorry! Someone took all the bad takes and cut them together to make this version of Unholy. We’d love to show the real finished product where we explain the experiments and everyones’ performances are above average, but we have no idea where it went. Go see Hatchet.”

Sadly, that never comes to pass. At least now you won’t have to view this movie twice in hopes to make sense out of the plot. According to the box this is the movie “They didn’t want you to see.” They who? The cast? I cannot blame them. The only thing to be learned from this movie is that in the minds of Goldberg and Freeman our government would expect Nazi scientists to perfect the impossible with no money or equipment. I actually miss Hollow Man now. Oh God!

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Daryl Goldberg and writer Sam Freeman
  • Trailer
  • Poster and stills gallery


    1 1/2 out of 5


    1/2 out 5

    Discuss Unholy in the Dread Central forums!

  • Kryten Syxx