As the years have passed onward for me I find myself filling my dripping horror platter from places such as older films, foreign, and independents much more than anything in the mainstream as of late. The Shrine is a rare and raw piece of celluloid that can be laid at the altar of good films at a time when most are thrown out back for the diseased dogs to eat. It's true there are some things in the movie worth correcting but as it was once said "no work of art is ever completed, only abandoned." To overly-critique this movie is to focus on all that we would like to have instead of all that is before us which is a movie worth watching and deserving of money that's becoming more difficult to earn these days.
The Shrine is set in a modern time yet pre-industrialized Eastern European town where food and supplies are produced, not bought. The xenophobic townspeople are more concerned with making do and being left alone than for the modern conveniences of the first-world mega-nations. This film is about what happens when overly curious, intrusive Americans march onward into this set aside village and the consequences for the modern not paying homage to the ancient traditions of others in this surreal, mysterious hamlet.
The main characters are not to be respected though you may find yourself feeling sympathy for them. They are arrogant, disrespectful, and rude. As their fate becomes known to you the vague thought of "you asked for it" begins to prevail and not with a sense of remorse. The director clearly has some political opinions yearning to be expressed but it's not revealing unless truly examined.
Eastern Europe with their olden, gothic histories is a birthing chamber for horror yet untapped by most American filmakers perhaps because most have such a limited understanding of how movies should be made; meaning for effect, not money. This director had a vision for this film's potential and that is not only clearly evident while watching, but appreciated.
While viewing this piece, try not to obsess with the trivial shortcomings that this film may express yet focus on what this movie is, a wonderful piece that deserves recognition and praise.