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After a young American backpacker goes missing in Europe, a group of journalists link his disappearance to a remote village. They travel there hoping to investigate, but soon encounter a series of bizarre occurrences – an otherworldly cloud of fog, a haunting statue drenched in blood, and a chamber of decaying bodies. They were warned to get out, but now that they’ve discovered the town’s deadly secret, the locals won’t let them leave…
"A diabolically effective, dead-serious shocker." -- Mitch Davis, FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
"The ending will blow you away! Horror fans will be pleased." -- I AM ROGUE
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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.
So I'll try to keep it short. Three American journalists go to Poland to find out what happened to a missing backpacker whom the audience already knows has met with a sad end. Before they know it, they've repeated his mistakes, and those who took care of the backpacker are ready to make sure the journalists pay the full price for their trespasses.
What separates this movie from scores of others which begin in similar ways are the little touches the filmmakers add. One of the most effective is that when the journalists arrive in the backwater village in Poland, most of the residents speak only Polish, rather than resorting to the silly idea that English is so universal that everyone must know it. Of those who do speak it, there are plausible enough reasons why, and I respect the director for granting the audience a measure of intelligence to be able to follow along without holding our hand the entire way and subtitling the foreign language dialog. Another is the extreme creepiness of the encounter with 'the shrine' itself. I found it very unnerving.
Combine the deft plotting with competent acting, as well as the other small touches, and the deficencies in the film seem minor or invisible. Keep your expectations reasonable and chances are you will find this a nice turn from your average horror film.
To be fair, the production standards where not altogether top notch (too much green screen work), but it's obvious that majority of the budget was spent on the special effects. The cast was also uneven (Cindy Sampson could not carry the picture even with all of Aaron Ashmore's help). Also, the director lingers too long on certain shots, and fails to pick up the pace when the story races out from under him.
Nonetheless, this is still highly recommended for those who like supernatural horror. (Finally available to own on DVD, although you can stream it on Netflix.)
I'm glad I did. The story starts out very simple, three Americans travel to a small farming village in Poland to investigate the disappearance of a guy who went missing, and over the years several others have as well. Also, the last thing I'll tell you about the plot is there is a mysterious fog in the woods that doesn't seem to go away, and seems to lead the group to that spot.
A forewarning, once the action and horror really begin, most of the actors speak in Polish, and they're aren't subtitles during these scenes. I really appreciated the movie makers doing this, because clearly the Polish characters know full well what's going on in the story; but for the audience, we are following the Americans who have no idea what they're saying. THAT ADDS TREMENDOUS SUSPENSE TO THE PLOT! Since we have no idea what's going on, and it really adds to the horror and terror of the story.
By the end, you'll mostly figure out what has happened, but I do recommend if you have any questions to check out the wiki page, it helped clear a few things up!
Also, I purchased the Blu Ray, and the picture quality is AMAZING. I recommend whichever version you can get, but extra kudos to the Blu Ray!
P.S. - No idea if they'll ever make a prequel, but I would love to know how the fog ended up there in the first place. I bet the writers could make a really interesting story out of that one!
A surprising gem from IFC. Here comes along an independent film that I've never heard of, I take a little risk and rent it, and then...WOW. Creepy, smart, great twist at the end that really caught me by surprise.This film is a MUST for any fan of the Horror / Supernatural genre.
I bought it on DVD because real liked it ..just wish they release it on blu-ray & widscreen format,This movie is great! i dont understand why people are talking about how they are speaking polish and there is no subtitles... Obviously it is for a reason they dont want you to know what the ending is going to be... i highly reccommend this movie!!!