Review: The Shrine (2010, Brookstreet Pictures)




Category: Religious/Occult, Paranormal/Supernatural
Directed by:
Jon Knautz

Written by: Jon Knautz, Brendan Moore
Starring: Aaron Ashmore, Cindy Sampson, Meghan Heffern, Trevor Matthews
Music: Ryan Shore
Cinematography: James Griffith

I’ve heard some good things from people I know about this movie, and I’ve seen it flipping through Netflix and the poster art looked pretty cool. It’s taken me over a year to get around to it considering my already massive list of to-be-watched movies.

The premise is that a reporter (Cindy Sampson), her jock chodebag photographer boyfriend (Aaron Ashmore), and a girl she works with (Meghan Heffern) set out to Poland to investigate the disappearances of tourists near a remote village. Once they arrived they also discover a  stagnant fog that looms over one part of a forest. Turns out the townsfolk aren’t down with them sticking their noses in their business so they must sneak around them to investigate further.

I went in with high hopes but I was seriously let down. Right from the beginning I felt like this movie was going to suck, but I’m a trooper and stuck it out. It didn’t get any better though. The acting is really lame and over dramatic. Everything was such a big deal to these characters, with a constant look of shock and awe on their faces. They’re in a rural village in Poland and the lead chick freaks out because a butcher is slicing up a pig. The whole group is shocked to see a procession of villagers leave a church and bow to their religious leaders. These people are supposed to be reporters, there are much more disturbing things going on in the world other than well, normal things. They then discover a tomb containing the remains of kidnapped tourists, which they’re not too shaken by. And of course stupid characters making cringe-worthy stupid decisions, but that’s the screenwriter’s fault not theirs. I’ll forgive Meghan Heffern’s acting though since I’m a fan of Blue Mountain State.

Other than the acting, this movie just got kind of boring after awhile. There are certain parts that are paced very poorly, like when Sampson’s character gets lost in the fog for 10 minutes and nothing really happens. I felt like this movie wanted to be a dark and eerie thriller, but it wasn’t shot that way at all. It’s very crisp, modern and generic looking. A more suited DP was needed. Ryan Shore’s score got nominated for something but I don’t know why, nothing stuck out to me about it. Not really a bunch for good gore either. The best quality of this movie is the twist, which is poorly executed though.

This movie just didn’t do it for me, I would’ve rather spent that hour and a half watching a low budget horror flick or staring at my wall. It’s not even bad in the good way, just bad. It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, it’s just boring.





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