Going back to the cinema after lockdown to watch The Unholy!

As everyone else has awaited the end of lockdown to go to the shops, pubs, eat out or simply to meet up with someone, for me I have been waiting 17 months to go to the cinema. I’ve always loved going to the cinema since my first outing to see Star Wars when I was 3 years old and the two times I actually did anything ‘social’ in 2020 was to be one of the few people to actually go and watch films at the cinema.

I love everything about the cinema and largely go by myself as working for myself my hours are much more variable and my favourite slot is to go about 9.30am on a Monday morning when it is usually just myself and whatever drinks and ice-cream I carry to my seat… normally Chocolate Mint Chip, Chocolate or Chocolate Orange and Triple Chocolate. So… I like chocolate!

Cinema is good for my imagination and writing and it’s also just nice to escape. Two hours or so of happiness in an existence of pretty abject misery.

I was very excited to see 2 films last week. It should be noted due to my being #ExcludedUK and without work or government support since February 2020 that I can only do this as I have an Annual Membership card which allows me to see unlimited films. I bought it just before the virus arrived all ready to take my movie-going to a new level.

My Annual card expired twice since I purchased and last week I explained my situation and they kindly extended my membership to 2022. Not many big companies seem to be as customer friendly in this way as my own Ye Olde England Tours so a big thankyou to Cineworld for that.

I don’t mind really what I see so long as its not a Superhero/marvel/disney/Hollywood film with 40 or 50 year olds acting like teenagers and without reading any reviews I jumped to see Nomadland starring Frances Mcdormand who was the main reason I thought I might view it. Then I read that read several Oscars.

Boy was I disappointed. Even though I’ve spent almost 17 months alone, I’ve rarely had 2 hours as bored out of my mind than where I watched Nomadland. I can only think it won Oscars because there wasn’t much competition. I likely wouldn’t have watched it usually despite the actress but I was keen to get out even with a mask on and it being the coldest and wettest spring in the U.K. for 70 years or so, my house has been freezing too and I just wanted to be warm for a little bit.

It wasn’t a complete loss, I liked some of the cinematography but the plot such as it is, was boring. I didn’t care for the main character and some of the others that came and went were outright annoying, perhaps as I suspected because some weren’t played by actors.

Oh well, it was still nice to go to the cinema especially as it was free and especially as before the film, there were adverts for upcoming films and they all looked much better than the film I was unwittingly about to watch no matter what the genre.

I quickly decided to watch The Unholy as it wasn’t on the trailers and I had a hunch it wouldn’t be around for long. There are two reasons I went for The Unholy, first it is a horror film and I love horror. Secondly it starred Jeffrey Dean Morgan who I think is amazing in The Walking Dead as Negan.

The luke warm reviews (to put it mildly) didn’t deter me and I’m so glad I went. For a while I thought I might be the only person in the screening. I have seen countless horror films on my own and nothing much compares to being in a dark empty auditorium with hundreds of seats during a scary movie!

The smallish but dark auditorium

Sadly this was a small auditorium with only a few hundred seats as opposed to one of the larger screens at the venue but I liked it from the moment it started. A slightly old-fashioned, dare I say predictable film. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a journalist with a terrible reputation who is called to investigate an animal mutilation at a small farm in Massachusetts. The mutilation is a total non-event but whilst there he discovers a spooky old doll in the base of a hollow-tree trunk which he smashes with his boot to create something of a scary story he can sell to his newspaper.

Whilst leaving town that night he witnesses a young lady named Alice who is visiting the same tree and hears her speak, this despite the fact that she has lived her whole life life being both death and mute.

It turns out that she had a vision of the Virgin Mary who has given her the power to make both herself and others well. Her Uncle being a rather sceptical and protective Priest played by William Sadler (from my favourite film, The Shawshank Redemption) adds an even more religious element and soon the whole town and half the state is coming to witness miracles.

This being a horror film of course, things aren’t what they seem and it isn’t the loving Mary we know of but rather an ancestor of Alice by the name of Mary Elnor who performed Miracles in Victorian times not through God but by having made a pact with the Devil…. in fact we see her being executed at the very tree the doll is found at in a small pre-title sequence.

Cricket Brown does a great job of portraying Alice as things start going profoundly wrong, statues bleed, people seemingly commit suicide and all the while the world is watching and visiting hoping that the Virgin Mary is really here to help.

Eventually a large crowd come to a special service which is televised around the world where Alice tells everyone that Mary is waiting for millions to hear her message and pledge allegiance to her all the while not doing that by doing so the Devil would take their souls.

I have to say I liked it a lot and I’m quickly going to see The Conjuring : The Devil Made Me Do It which I know I will like as I have enjoyed every Conjuring film (said to be all based on real life 20th century cases), In The Earth which looks like a British camping holiday from hell and Supernova, not a horror film or a Sci-Fi film as far as I can see but a story of Sam and Tusker are traveling across England in their old RV to visit friends, family and places from their past. Since Tusker was diagnosed with dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have. It looks a great story and its filmed in the Lake District, my part of the world.

What is it that you’ve most looked forward to doing this last year or so when things got back or will get back to normal where you live?

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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3 Responses to Going back to the cinema after lockdown to watch The Unholy!

  1. Dossers' Diary says:

    Well done Cineworld 😃
    Thanks for confirming that we don’t need to rush to see Nomadland. I’ve read the book, which I did get value from, mainly because we saw a surprisingly wide range of older folk in very ill kitted-out vans on our 2016 USA road trip and had been trying to figure it out. The book confirmed our suspicions: these poor folk really are just one step above kipping in a car.
    Not sure how you make a semi-fictionalised film out of that without somehow trivialising the issue; will wait until Nomadland appears on free TV to find out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: My Top 10 Movies of 2021 | Stephen Liddell

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