19 March 2012

Ally's Review: The Shrine

I'd never heard of this film before Fin brought it to the table on Thursday. After briefly reading the synopsis on the back of the DVD I began to worry that we were in for another very uncomfortable watch.

The Shrine tells the story of a (very irritating) journalist who sneaks away to Poland on the hunt for a potential big news story with her gormless colleague and hapless boyfriend. An American tourist went missing in a small town in Poland with no trace, so she goes to investigate. Soon we discover that the small town has some bizarre secrets, most notably a strange fog in the forest. Unwisely (have they never seen a horror movie??) the three of them go off to find out what's happening, with very bad results...

I actually quite enjoyed this movie, probably more than I should have. I enjoyed it despite the very obvious problems. First of all the acting is substandard: the three Americans have no charisma and struggle to convey the more subtle emotions, the natives are quite clearly not Polish (the children are especially comical), although for a small budget movie this is probably an unfair gripe. It suffers from having the characters do the very common horror movie practice of making incredibly dumb decisions - in a tongue and cheek movie that's fine, but in a film that's trying to be serious it adds an unintentional comedic element.

Despite these grumbles I did enjoy the movie, even if I forgot about it soon after the credits rolled. It has some solid scares and it is a genuinely creepy premise for a movie. With some better acting and a bit of polishing (unintended pun) of the script, I think it would have been a surprisingly good film. The twist is well handled (a rarity for a horror film), and not immediately obvious… unless you're Clarky and you call it after about 20 minutes (ruining it for me and Fin in the process!)

In other words, this film is a bit of a mixed bag. It has enough originality and creepiness to be worth a watch for any horror fan looking for a decent 80 minute film. But it's quickly forgotten because the flaws are a bit much to overcome.


  1. Nice review Al. Initially I was thinking along your lines as well, enjoyable but forgetable, however waiting an extra week to write the review made me realise that I didn't enjoy this film really.

    Sorry for spoiling the twist for you! It was a nice idea but difficult to pull off I think.

  2. Good review!

    I also didn't like this movie. It didn't hold up. Couldn't say I expected less I guess.

    Swing by my page


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