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THE SHRINE  (2010)

Canadian horror, The Shrine starts out slowly and reminded me of those spooky old fashioned evil cult movies like Horror Hotel and The Wicker Man. Story opens with a backpacker in Eastern Europe meeting a horrible fate in the first scene and reporter, Carmen (Cindy Sampson) along with her photographer/ boyfriend, Marcus (Aaron Ashmore) and intern, Sara (Meghan Heffern) then setting out to find him when he’s reported missing. They find themselves in the remote Polish village of Alvania, where he was last thought to be and to say there is something evil and strange going on in this village is an understatement. And the deeper our trio looks, the deeper the trouble they realize they’re in.

But Shrine becomes something else entirely in it’s final act and that’s what makes it work so well. We’ve become so complacent with the slow burning spookiness, that we aren’t ready for the ferocious and gory climax nor the revelations contained within. The cast of unknowns do fine. The leads are a bit wooden, but not enough to do damage to the overall mood of the film and the village locals are suitably creepy, as they’re supposed to be. Writer/director Jon Knautz creates good atmosphere and purposely does not use subtitles during Polish speaking parts to make us share the main characters’ feelings of alienation and isolation. He also creates some nice tension along the way, especially when he cranks things up for the intense farmhouse climax. The make-up and gore FX are also well done and very effective and the film’s remote locations were actually shot in Canada.

Entertaining and effectively spooky little horror flick from Jon Knautz who went on to direct Girl House, one of my favorites of 2015!

A solid 3 spooky statues

the shrine rating