The Unholy Land is one of the most graphic films I've seen this week. With a level of brutality you usually only find in movies, the film is truly terrifying. There's a scene where a pregnant woman is executed by the Catholic Church because she was engaged to be married off to an IRA terrorist. The movie has many other disturbing scenes, but if you're a film buff the scene with the woman being strangled to death will stick in your head for a long time. This movie doesn't have a lot of violence, yet at the same time it uses it in such a graphic and realistic way that it becomes an unforgettable experience.
director David Fincher gives us the first person perspective of a religious conflict that isn't generally depicted in movies. We see the plight of the innocent children who are caught between the IRA and the Catholic Church, and a war-like conflict breaks out. Children are killed, adults are killed, and there are countless others killed during the war. As the children are taken away from their families, they are brutally murdered as well. In one scene, one of the children is burned alive.
The movie is driven by anger and revenge, with no logical explanation as to why these events happen. One of the characters, an anti-Vatican official, has an axe to grind and he makes a point to get at the Pope himself. He threatens to expose the Cardinal's affair with his mistress if the Pope is not fired from office. If you thought the movie was over at the end of the first half, wait till you've seen the second half. The Unholy Land is intense and very intense.
When I saw the movie online, I instantly recognized Fincher's name. With his films The Devil's Advocate and Seabiscuit, he is one of the leading action filmmakers in modern times. I went into the movie with high expectations, and I was not disappointed. The visual style of the film is intense and graphic, with upsetting images and reactions.
My favorite scenes are those where the viewer learns what is going on through the eyes of the antagonist. The other half of the movie deals with the aftermath and the repercussions. It is probably because I love the characters so much, and also the Christian messages that are present throughout. I'm not the type of person to go to the movies for entertainment. I prefer online sources to reading, movies to DVD, or television to viewing.
I'm giving this movie three thumbs up, because while it is not as good as the other horror movies that I have seen, it is very watchable. The Unholy Land is a great start to the John F. Kennedy movie franchise. It is definitely a high point for the career of John F. Kennedy. For horror fans, The Unholy Land is a great introduction to some of the lesser known horror flicks that are out there. The DVD release of The Unholy Land should be added to your list of must-see movies.