Directed by Jon Knautz
Written by Jon Knautz, Brendan Moore
Story by Jon Knautz, Brendan Moore and Trevor Matthews
Starring Aaron Ashmore, Cindy Sampson, Meghan Heffern,
and Trevor Matthews
Running time 93 minutes
Canadian film The Shrine is another one of those religious themed films I've stated a weakness for previously, so you knew eventually I would make my way to this one. I actually first watched it about 2 years ago, but recently put it back on so I could share it with my movie date for life! He often indulges me in repeats, sometimes to the umpteenth power(thanks hun)! He hadnt had a chance to see this one with me previously so I was interested in what his take would be and if it was just my bias for these types of films or if he would see what I saw in it.
There's a problem in Alvania, a small rural Polish village, the tourist are going missing but no one seems to notice or care. That is until one intrepid journalist Carmen gets wind of the story. Carmen is a bit self indulgent, with a failing relationship with co worker and photographer Marcus, who finds her selfish ways tedious. Her editor wants her to work on what she considers fluff stories, but she knows shes ready for something "real": Unwilling to take no for answer, she enlists an interns help, and convinces her boyfriend that she needs him on this one with her and off they go to Poland.
Once there they wander about getting no help from the villagers, who make it very know they are not welcome. This just deepens the mystery for Carmen, who is determined to get to the bottom of things. Marcus pushes Carmen to just leave well enough alone, but Carmen admits that her job is on the line so he reluctantly agrees to help the two girls investigate the strange fog covering the forest, just outside the village. Our travelers get separated in the dense fog, while struggling to find their way back to one another the two woman both stumble upon a very strange and ominous statue in the middle of nowhere. Slowly they find their way back to one another, and realize the villagers are closing in, fearing for the worst they run looking for a place to hide.
The mystery continues to swirl as they stumble upon a barn where they unsuccessfully try to conceal themselves, and that's where the action, so to, starts. The villagers take Marcus, Carmen and Sarah to a creepy crypt, where Sarah is strapped to an alter, and the villagers don some very strange religious style robes and begin chanting incantations while preparing poor Sarah for what we know cant be anything good.
This is a film that is a bit more subtle than most horror. Its story driven which we both really enjoyed, its a nice change from the usual effects and kill laden films of the genre. The writing on this one is great pulling you in and offering just enough in the way of effects and information to make you wonder what the hell you're seeing without giving itself away. Which translates into some nice twists and turns in the plot that will catch you by surprise. The Shrine keeps you guessing right up till near the end, when you finally realize what it is behind the this strange Cult like religion, and its members. Sometimes all is not what it seems and this film is a great celluloid reminder of that. So pop up the corn and get ready to be immersed in something a little bit different!