FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jul 25, 2012

Hey wait, that wasn't too bad: THE SHRINE (2010)

Boy oh boy do I spend a lot of time sifting through crap when trying to find something to watch on Netflix. Well, okay, to clarify: sifting through perceived crap. That's right! I totally judge books movies by their covers even though my parents taught me better. And really, I should know better, especially when it comes to horror- cover art nowadays is just the worst and has no bearing on the quality of the film itself. But still...dime-a-dozen artwork coupled with a not-so-great-rating menage à troising with a cast of unknowns means I'm probably going to zip right by you, movie. I'm sorry. You can judge me, I deserve it.

And heck, maybe I've learned my lesson! (I haven't) After all, for the reasons outlined above, I zipped past The Shrine a bunch of times until some friends told me I really ought to check it out. I stopped zipping, checked it out, and hey wait, it wasn't too bad.

Carmen (Cindy Sampson) is a young reporter who smells a hot story cookin' in Poland- American tourists are disappearing. Her editor, though, disagrees that there's any mystery afoot and instead sends Carmen to investigate a story about bees.

Apparently Carmen has never seen The Swarm and therefore she does not understand that bees can be our greatest friends and also our greatest enemies, and that it could be a BLOCKBUSTER STORY...and thus she storms off to Poland regardless, her boyfriend Marcus (Aaron Ashmore) and intern Sara (Meghan Heffern) in tow.

Reporter powers...activate! Form of...good-looking young people!

"OH PLEASE NO," you may be saying to yourself. "Let me guess...The Shrine is really just Hostel Part Whatever Number They're Up To Now, isn't it?"

Believe me, friends, I was saying that to myself as well. I probably even rolled my eyes! But The Shrine has many lessons to teach us about prejudice...in fact, I don't think it's too brash to say that The Shrine may be this generation's "Free Your Mind".

So what is happening to those tourists if they're not being tortured because of reasons? Well, I guess you'll just have to watch it and find out, won't you? There are religious ceremonies, isolated villages with something to hide- you know, lots of horror chestnuts. There's also gore that'll make you cringe, some incredibly creepy sequences, and some pleasant surprises for those fans who are all jaded about dem horror chestnuts. It's a surprisingly mean movie.

Mind you, there's also some dodgy special effects and and characters who do things that...you know, stupid characters in scary movies do, but in the end I didn't mind so much. In fact, I didn't much mind at all- The Shrine is effective and dagummit, I really liked it. It's an original take on some old faves....and aren't horror fans always crying out for originality? Yes. Can a movie be both original and familiar? Yes. Don't be like me- don't zip by this one when it pops up on Netflix. But then do be like me and take a chance on it. Mixed messages, I know. I'm sorry. Just free your mind and the rest will follow, I swear.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

But what is the JumpShot to CreepyScene ratio? If it is over 1, I don't want to see it.

PaulR

Stacie Ponder said...

Surely there's at least one jump scare- no horror movie would be complete without one- but I honestly can't recall any. I hate the overuse of/reliance on jump scares, and I can say with confidence that The Shrine sure isn't Insidious.

B.E. Earl said...

I dig how the filmmakers decided against providing subtitles for the Polish-speaking characters. Kept the viewers in the dark as much as the Americans in the film as to what was going on. Unsettling in a great way.

Stacie Ponder said...

YES. It was a very wise move.

Anonymous said...

I meant a ratio that is over one, not a single jump shot. Jump shots are a necessary evil, I guess, or at least something that you just have to deal with along the same lines as people who bend your book covers backward, or watery espresso.

I hope that one day there will be a world without JumpShots- directors will frighten viewers by CreepyScenes and Mood alone. In this world there will be flying unicorns that you can ride, complete with silver unicorn saddles and unicorn lances. And Old Coke.

PaulR

Stacie Ponder said...

"I meant a ratio that is over one, not a single jump shot."

Yeah, I know what you were getting at...I just meant that even though there surely must have been one, I couldn't remember the instance...which means that to my shoddy memory at least, the ration would be acceptable.

Tim Mayer said...

I'm watching THE WOMAN right now. It's a wicked little indie horror movie about a lawyer who captures and decides to civilize a feral girl.

Erich Kuersten said...

You are truly the bravest writer on the web... I too have passed this over a dozen times, pegging it as one of five million J-or-K horror films probably shot on video and featuring girls with their long black hair combed over their faces and then at the end their face shows they're dead! ooooh!

Thanks you your bravery, I know it's something more.

I have a streaming name for you, THE OREGONIAN!

Stacie Ponder said...

Haven't seen THE WOMAN yet, but I've heard good things!

Erich, I'm on the front lines, here! Although maybe not, since it took the recommendation of a friend to get me to watch this. But I'm glad I did!

Bleed For Me. said...

Thanks for the recommend... I was actually curious about this one.

TheIrreverentCouponer said...

Thanks for pre-screening it! I watched it on your recommendation and appreciate the tip.

The Shrine certainly wasn't any worse than Insidious, and it was graciously brief in comparison. The crap dialogue was sparse, and I also enjoyed the refusal to translate the Polish. Wise, indeed... the movie definitely benefits from some good filmmaking decisions.

Do you think it's a secret gem, or just not-as-bad-as-it-looks? I thought there were some fairly special bits.

TheIrreverentCouponer said...

I'm looking forward to more posts on the "hey wait that wasn't too bad" tag.

Stacie Ponder said...

"I'm looking forward to more posts on the "hey wait that wasn't too bad" tag."

Thanks- me too! Especially since it means that I go in expecting crap and things turn out better than crap.

And The Shrine might be a secret gem...or at least just shy of being a gem. Like you said, there are really some inspired bits- the statue sequence was quite memorable, I thought. Wouldn't mind watching this one again, really.

Craig Oxbrow said...

1: I'll take a look at The Shrine.

2: I have to go and hug my original-poster-as-the-cover Near Dark DVD now.

Kirk H. said...

I SHRINED this winter and found it suprisingly well done and clever. And I'm VERY hard on horror these days, to the point of being grumpy and frumpy. It didn't try to overexplain at the end either...it was what is was: a bad patch of forest that folks need to STAY THE FUCKING-FUCK OUT OF! There's destroying it, no 'good guys win' scenario...just keep away and 'hope no one else gets lost out there in The Fog.' Like the nazi zombie island in SHOCK WAVES or the mayan temple in THE RUINS...the evil is STILL out there...waiting for the next bunch to fall into the trap. I dig it!

Tippi said...

Glad you mentioned this! This has been showing up on Instant Watch for weeks but I've never watched it. I'll give it a shot next time.

Tippi said...

haaa okay, finally watched it.. I was not a fan. It was just so boring, my attention kept drifting. Even some tense music might have helped. I did enjoy the twist at the end (re: the priests' motivations) though.

If you're interested in more "meh, not THAT bad," try The Caller. I really loved Rachel Lefevre in that!

Andy said...

I was pleasantly surprised with "The Shrine". The statue sequence was deliciously creepy and the moment when everything began to gell (the farmer's wife in hysterics) I began to realize that there was something more going on than I realized. Thanks for the recommendation Stacie!

Finbarr Heather said...

Well Stacie, in a moment of giddy, drooling spontaneity I just ordered The Shrine on blu-ray purely on your recommendation. No netflix here in Oz and it's not about to appear at my local video store anytime soon so I thought I'd take a chance on your say-so. Witness the shamanic power you wield over your devoted followers!

Stacie Ponder said...

Oh, awesome! Hope you dig it. Think I'll give it a re-watch.

Finbarr Heather said...

Well ,it arrived and I watched it and sure enough I enjoyed it. Found myself intrigued by what the locals were jabbering about to the point where I texted a Polish mate and said "Fuck I wish you could come over and translate this movie for me". Glad she didn't though, 'cause the payoff for my linguistic ignorance was worth it. Well played, filmmakers, well played. And thankyou Stacie for bringing this one to my attention.