Horror activists are used to watching present horror films that are dull, repetitive, gory and uninventive. Now a days we see a horror film and realize it is just a remix of an older classic. Many times originality almost seems like it is completely dead. Huge blockbuster horrors are pushed out, raising everyone’s hopes, only to drop them off a cliff. The most beautiful production, score and actors - yet the most unoriginal plot.
Believe it or not, The Shrine is the complete opposite of most modern day horror films. It has an incredibly unique story that is one of the more inventive takes on demons and exorcism. The storyline is a true gem and it is fun to watch the film unfold.
While it does set itself up to be a classic, it then forgets all the necessary parts of a horror film that the lazy blockbusters do accomplish. Just like most present day horror films, the viewers' hopes are ultimately dropped off a cliff.
The film begins with the ritualistic killing of a man on a ceremonial table. A man we learn is now being seeked by a journalist, Carmen (Cindy Sampson), her intern, Sarah (Meghan Heffern) and Carmen’s boyfriend, Marcus (Aaron Ashmore). The search takes the crew to a fictional central European place called Alvania. The townspeople are frosty and clearly don’t want the Americans in their rural village. Demonic events begin to occur and the village people become more and more hostile toward the Americans. As the film goes on, the viewer is taken on a ride of twists and turns that complete with a satisfying ending.
It all sounds great when it comes to the plot and it really is, but the logistics of the movie are horrible. The characters are not lovable; in fact they are annoying. Carmen and Sarah are perfect examples of characters acting stupid in a horror film. If you are bothered by unrealistic human choices during a movie then this film is going to really annoy you. Walking right into traps and lack of intelligence are all attributes these two female characters have. Luckily, Marcus is a little bit more intelligent, but that isn’t enough to save your hatred toward the two female leads.
Not only are the characters annoying, but they also aren’t the best actors. I didn’t personally feel the writing was the issue, I just felt like this movie didn’t hire legit actors that put you on the edge of your seat. It's a real shame because this plot deserves better.
The Shrine is a perfect example of originality in horror, but it is also a perfect example of sloppiness. Give me smarter characters, better actors, a little bit better effects and I truly believe this movie would deserve a 9 or higher. Unfortunately we can’t always get what we want.
Horror island is receiving a demon who has all the potential in the world, but does it have the drive to become one of the best ever? Unfortunately for us, this demon seems to have more potential than actual talent. Still in this day and age, don’t be surprised if another film comes along that attempts to get this storyline done correctly. It really does deserve it.
If you liked The Shrine, you might also like The Exorcist and The Wicker Man.