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In New Orleans, a series of horrific murders of priests are occurring around the city's Catholic churches. The diocese calls in Father Michael (Cross) to fight the powerful demon, known as Daesidarius, or The Unholy. The Father's faith is tested almost to the breaking point as the demon - disguised as a stunningly beautiful lady - attempts to seduce Father Michael into breaking his vows. Father Michael soon learns how the Unholy works - by murdering the sinner in the act of sinning, then sending that person's soul to Hell. Will this one priest's inner strength be enough to stop this monster - or will he join the ranks of the other ill-fated priests? Written by
Phillip Yordan originally wrote this script in the 70s after the box office successes of films like The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976). Director Vila found the script years later in Yordan's office while they were working on something else, liked it and asked if he could use it. See more »
New Orleans church St Agnes has become the grounds of an evil entity, which has tempted the first two priests to their unholy deaths. Soon the head of the church gets Father Cross, who they believed is spiritually blessed to take over the church. The evil is in the form of a ravishing beauty, whom does its best to seduce Cross and make him commit the ultimate sin, which will see him, end up in hell.
Looking at the tag line "Seduction. Submission. Murder. Tonight evil goes over the edge." Well this doesn't really happen until the last 10 minutes, because the lead up to the hysterically bold and bloody climax with ridiculous rubber demons is damaged by a flat script and woodenly uninterested performances. The main problem I found was that it seems to coast along, with very little happening and the talky script was less than engaging with its uneven context covering religion and sexual repression. Not helping was that the straight-faced premise is the same-old, same-old for those familiar with the sub-genre, and succumbs to trashy silliness. One or two decent set-pieces (like an ominous sounding phone call) slowly creep up onto the viewer, and Camilo Vila's smoothly sterile direction drips with moody brushes, sexual allurement and dreary lighting that creates a visually smoky atmosphere. The music score had that oddly uncanny vibe, which can come across quite bloated. The special effects were pretty much a misfire, though I didn't think that they were the complete pits. Now what really caught my eye was the curious support cast featuring Ned Betty, Hal Halbrook, Trevor Howard and William Russ. Jill Carroll turned out okay and Russ was great, but the former did little to nothing. Ben Cross' sombre performance in the lead role is ploddingly lacking. The irresistible Nicole Fortier as the demonic entity, "The Unholy" glows with seductive temptation and can keep you glued. At least she's turned on for the occasion.
Been down this both before, and what's served up here is cheap, and mostly uninspired. Not awful, though.
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