The Shrine (Movie Review)

As is my custom on occasion, I ventured forth into The Zombie Serengeti the other day to pick me up a movie. This is one that caught my eye.

The Shrine DVD cover art alone got my attention. And yay! A Canadian horror movie, to boot!! Woohoo!

OK, here’s the deal… A group of young journalists looking for the ‘big break’ investigate the disappearances of a number of travellers in rural Poland, but their ambitious ways may lead them to becoming the next victims of a sacrifice practising cult who may be behind the mystery.

Mayhem ensues when… the journalists, two women and a photographer, follow an unusual dark, dense fog in the forest. The two women discover a strange statue in the woods. A shrine, of sorts (hence the title)! The Polish villagers, members of a bizarre cult of human sacrifice, capture the journalists and take them to their paganesque priests for ritual execution/sacrifice.

My two cents… I like the feel of this movie a lot. Today’s western culture bangs up against an old world spirit religion so intense and so visceral, it is sometimes difficult for the modern mind to understand. It is a relatively medium-low budget movie ($1.5 million) but not cheesy and chintzy. Well, the priest costumes are a bit ‘renaissance fair’, but so what? It is a chilling survival horror story with the journalists only beginning to discover the terrible secrets the village hides from the world. And, like any good horror movie, sometimes things are not always what they appear to be! The acting isn’t the best in the world, especially the two women (Cindy Sampson and Meghan Heffern), but the photographer (Aaron Ashmore) does a pretty good job. The ending has a nice twist and it’s dramatically satisfying as well.

Bottom line… Definitely worth a look! All in all, a very entertaining horror movie. Paul Scott at The Horror Hotel [1] describes it as The Wicker Man‘ meets ‘Hostel‘ and I can’t say I disagree with that characterization.

One and a quarter human sacrifice thumbs up!

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[1] For an insightful article on this movie, check out Paul Scott’s review at The Horror Hotel. One such insight is his delightful observation that “this whole mess could be solved with the use of a fence…….that’s right, a fence.” I love it!

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