Evan Spiliotopoulos has garnered plenty of attention for his work as a screenwriter on films such as 2014’s ‘Hercules’ starring Dwayne Johnson and 2017’s live-action remake of ‘Beauty & The Beast’.
Stepping into the role of director for the first time, Spiliotopoulos has adapted horror writer James Herbert’s 1983 classic ‘Shrine’ for the big screen under the title of ‘The Unholy’.
Gerry Fenn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a disgraced journalist turned stringer-for-hire, of supernatural tabloid fodder, is sent to investigate a strange occurrence in a small farming community. A born skeptic, Fenn quickly dismisses the incident as just another benign story. But, before he writes it off as a hoax; Fenn witnesses a deaf, teenaged girl, Alice (Cricket Brown), whispering next to a petrified oak tree in the middle of a field. What follows, to his disbelief, is a series of inexplicable events that has the locals convinced Alice can perform miracles.
When word spreads that Alice’s power to heal is attributed to the Virgin Mary, it fans the flames of curiosity from those near and far to witness the miraculous occur firsthand. As the hopeful masses descend upon this off-the-beaten-path town, Fenn sees this as an opportunity to redeem his reputation and resurrect his career. However, when a mysterious death befalls the church’s priest, Fenn believes that something more sinister is afoot. With the help of a local doctor, Natalie Gates (Katie Aselton), Fenn rushes to unlock the secrets of long ago to determine if Alice’s gift is divine or evil.
I spoke to Evan about why he decided to bring a James Herbert classic to the big screen, discuss the revelatory performance from newcomer Cricket Brown, and to find out if he has his eye on adapting any more Herbert novels into films.
‘The Unholy’ is released in UK cinemas on Monday 17th May 2021 via Sony Pictures Releasing UK. Watch the trailer below: