The Unholy (2021) Ending Explained

The Unholy 2021 Ending Explained

Last updated on April 5th, 2024 at 09:02 pm

The Unholy is an American supernatural horror film released in April 2021. The Unholy (2021) is directed by Evan Spiliotopoulos and produced by Sam Raimi. He also produced Evil Dead (2013), Drag Me to Hell (2009) Nightbooks (2021), and Don’t Breathe.

Though many think the movie is based on a true story it is written based on James Herbert’s 1983 novel Shrine.


The Unholy (2021) Ending Explained and Plot Twist in Details

* * * Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen the movie yet, turn back now! * * *

The film opens in 1845 from the point of view of a young woman. She is being hung from a tree with a mask attached to her face. The townspeople held a doll in front of her face and shouted an incantation. Afterward, they set her on fire, and she burned to death. Later, her body hangs alone from an old tree.

The scene shifts to the present day.

Reporter Gerry Fenn goes to the town of Banfield, Massachusetts, to investigate a story. A farmer informed him his cow had been marked by cult members. Gerry visits the place but finds that it is nothing more than a Metallica logo.

Suddenly he feels some kind of invisible attraction toward an old tree that stands alone in the middle of the field. He moves to it and finds a burnt doll which is similar to the first scene of the movie. There is a strange date on it of February 31st, 1845.

the unholly movie doll date
The cursed doll with the date February 31, 1845.

Then Gerry steps on the doll’s head and breaks it down for no reason.

The following night, Gerry is driving when he gets into an accident. On the roadside, he discovers a young woman named Alice Pagett. She approaches a tree and talks about something in her mind. Gerry realizes that is the tree where he broke the doll. Then Alice loses her senses and falls.

Gerry takes her to the home of Father Hagan who is Alice’s uncle. He calls Dr. Natalie Gates to check on her.

In the conversation, Gerry understands that Alice has not been able to speak and hear since birth. So Gerry can’t hear from her. On the contrary, Natalie accuses Gerry of trying to attack Alice. Gerry stays in town to check out what he thinks might be a true story rather than a hoax.

The next day, Gerry goes to the church. During the sermon, Father Hagan preaches and Alice is also present. Suddenly Alice stands up and starts walking outside. The incident fascinates everyone and they start following her.

Alice goes to the tree and stops for a moment. Then surprising everyone she speaks again. She tells everyone that she is hearing the voice of Mary herself. Through Alice, Mary asks everyone to return to the tree tomorrow. This is a religious miracle.

Gerry reports to his boss Monica Slade about the story but she informs him that he has been fired from the job for faking a news story. Monica does not want to hear any updates from him.

the unholy Gerry
Gerry with townspeople near the tree.

The next day many townspeople gathered in front of the tree.

There is a young paraplegic boy, Toby Walsh. Mary speaks for Alice and tells Toby to walk. Everyone is amazed that the boy is capable of doing so. Gerry records the event. Everyone begins to pray to Mary.

Inside the church, the statue of the Virgin Mary seems to cry blood.

The miracle news spreads like wildfire. So, the Vatican sent Bishop Gyles to investigate the miracle. Bishop Gyles began working with Monsignor Delgarde. Gerry meets Bishop while he is covering the story of Alice. He films Alice’s interview and uploads it to the media. It goes viral. Alice becomes a celebrity. The old tree becomes a temple as well.

Hagan goes to the tree and sees the doll on the ground, along with a ghostly apparition following him.

When Gerry used to speak, he had the power to move people.

Cricket performs excellent action in the unholly movie
Alice is talking with Mary.

Gerry arranges an interview with Alice. She says that Mary said when Gerry used to speak, he had the power to move people. She also saw someone in need of help. While this is going on, Hagan comes to Gerry to talk privately. He seems scared. Suddenly, he began coughing heavily due to emphysema. He comes to tell Gerry not to take advantage of Alice.

Alice practices singing with Hagan while Gerry sits at the church with Delgarde. Hagan starts coughing violently and collapses. As Gerry calls for an ambulance, Alice places a hand on Hagan’s chest, and he starts breathing normally again.

Afterward, Natalie does an x-ray for Hagan and compares it to one from a while ago, in which the condition was much worse. Now that people believe Alice truly healed Hagan’s condition, the tree is declared a shrine, and Banfield begins to gain tourism.

Gerry feels uncomfortable inside about the whole miracle. He talks to Natalie about the doll. She says that the doll is meant to be good luck and is also known for trapping evil spirits inside it. She also informed him that there was an impossible condition on it that can free the spirit. But since the condition never comes thus the spirit never frees unless someone breaks the doll. The talk about the doll reminds Gerry about the date written on it which was February 31st. This might be a condition that sealed an evil spirit inside it because February 31st never comes in real life.

the unholy movie alice interview

Later, they walk by the same creek he saw in his dream, and he once again sees the apparition.

We cut to Hagan in the church after he smokes a cigarette when he tells Natalie he wants to see Hagan. He goes to confession where he hears the apparent voice of Mary judging him because she healed him and he doubted the miracle.

the miracle spread everywhere
Live streaming on media.

Take steps out of the house and are attacked by Mary’s ghost. Hagan is found hanging by the neck in the church by Gerry, who believes he committed suicide. Gerry speaks to Gyles after the medics remove the body, and he is asked to keep quiet about the idea that a man of the cloth committed suicide.

In the evening, after reviewing the footage, Gerry interviews Alice again. He reveals a hidden aspect of the video: Mary’s ghost flashing briefly.

Gerry and Natalie look for documents in Latin about demons and witches in the church’s basement during Hagan’s funeral. There is a written piece on Mary Elnor, a healer of her time, but anyone who questioned her would have a hard time living. Mary, who confessed to working for Satan, was attacked by the townspeople.

The mask of the Virgin Mary was nailed to her face, and she was burned to death while her spirit was trapped in the doll that Gerry broke. When Alice stands up during the service, she tells the people that Mary wants them to gather at the shrine for a special service. Gerry and Natalie are then found and attacked by Mary’s ghost, but they escape and go to warn Alice.

Gerry & Natalie go to meet Bishop Gyles to show the note. Gyles & Delgrade read Hegan’s note and knew about Mary. They refused to reconsider their decision of an officially approved miracle. So Gerry & Natalie turn back with an empty hand from there.

the unholy cricket as Alice
The Shrine speech.

After that Gerry starts researching Mary in the year 1845 and he finds some interesting facts. There was a lady in the town named Mary and she had an adopted son by Nicholas Pagett. Mary dealt with the devil to live on through her every next generation.

Gerry is attacked by Mary’s ghost again but suddenly Delgarde comes. He defends Gerry from the spirit. Now he is convinced about Hegan’s note.

On the other hand, Gyle gets the shrine service with Alice. Then Delgarde, Gerry & Natalie arrive at the place to recapture Mary’s spirit. Delgarde sets fire to the doll. A large cross on the wall is engulfed in flames. Surprisingly, it falls off and impales Delgarde, setting him on fire as well. Gerry and Natalie rush to help him.

Mary is preparing to take in all the townspeople’s faith to be more powerful during the service. The moment Gerry and Natalie arrive, they realize that the only way to stop Mary is to make everyone doubt her powers.

Gerry tells the crowd that he fabricated the whole thing and that Alice is not a healer. In addition to her hearing and Toby walking, he makes up a couple of facts about what happened. Natalie joins in, and the crowd starts to boo and renounce their faith.

Mary becomes so angry that she sets the tree on fire.

Immediately after her ghost appears and tries to attack, the people start running. Once again, Toby is unable to control his legs. Natalie is forced to carry him to safety.

Gyles tries to subdue the spirit, but Mary presses her hand against his chest and disintegrates him. Alice takes a hit when she goes after Gerry. After killing her last descendant, Mary’s spirit can no longer live on, as she screams as she fades away. Alice’s body is held by Gerry, who prays tearfully to God for her survival. After Alice wakes up, Gerry hugs her.

the unholy marys ghost
The Unholy ghost of Mary.

Alice, Gerry, and Natalie visit Hagan’s grave to honor him. Alice is once again deaf-mute, but Gerry finds a way to communicate with her. He tells Natalie that he is amazed that Alice survived after she had no pulse and was not breathing when he held her, but Natalie thinks that maybe God did work a miracle.

After they leave, we see a verse from Matthew 7:15 –

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

In the final scene, the statue of the Virgin Mary is seen crying blood again.


This movie reminds me 2010 movie Legion where a concept raises about religious horror belief. The movie is not so scary except few jump scares.

Sometimes the plot flowing is a little bit clumsy.

The Unholy (2021) is recommended as an ‘enjoyable watch’ supernatural horror film by Brainless Pen.

Official Synopsis

The unholy movie shooting location

On the holiest weekend of the year comes The Unholy, which follows Alice, a young hearing-impaired girl who, after a supposed visitation from the Virgin Mary, is inexplicably able to hear, speak and heal the sick. As word spreads and people from near and far flock to witness her miracles, a disgraced journalist (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) hoping to revive his career visits the small New England town to investigate. When terrifying events begin to happen all around, he starts to question if these phenomena are the works of the Virgin Mary or something more sinister.

The Unholy is produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Evan Spiliotopoulos, written for the screen and directed by Evan Spiliotopoulos, and is based upon James Herbert’s best-selling book Shrine.

— Sony Pictures


Original Title The Unholy

Other Titles Ruega por nosotros (Spain), Shrine (UK)

Genre Supernatural horror

Runtime 1hr 39min

Original Language English

Other Languages Uses American Sign Language, Latin

Director Evan Spiliotopoulos

Tagline ‘Be careful who you pray to.’

Release date April 2, 2021 (USA)

Filming location Sudbury, Massachusetts, USA

Production Companies Screen Gems, Ghost House Pictures

Official Website The Unholy Website

Brainless Pen Rating!

Cast of Characters

Actor/Actress Name Character Name Description
Jeffrey Dean Morgan Gerry Cult news reporter.
Cricket Brown Alice The girl who possessed by Mary’s ghost.
Diogo Morgado Delgarde Bishop of Vatican City.
Katie Aselton Natalie Friend of Gerry.
William Sadler Father Hegan Uncle of Alice’s.

Official Trailer

Read more, The Old Ways (2020) Ending Explained.