Saturday, January 9, 2016

In short: The Shrine (2010)

Warning: despite being short, this is going to be full of spoilers, beginning right at the next sentence.

So, just imagine you were part of a small village in OntarioPoland full of CanadiansPoles who are protecting a cursed place that causes possession in anyone entering it? Would you build something, anything around it? Like, for example, a fence with no entry signs? Would you perhaps guard the place? Oh don’t be silly, how ever would you get around to being part of a plot twist that (surprise!) reveals the murderous (probably) inbred country folk to be murdering (probably) inbred country folk out to protect the world against DEMONS! Yup, that’s the twist here, and it’s about as well thought out as you’d expect, which is to say, not at all.

Add to that the usual crap about English language people visiting the horrors of a foreign country where everyone is primitive (and, as I have been told by people who know, speaks Polish with a heavy accent) and dresses medieval peasant-y, the absolutely pointless contortions the film goes through so that nobody knows where its main characters are even though there’d be no difference in the plot if people knew it (because the whole main plot takes place during the course of a day or so anyhow), and how much the main characters act like totally clueless horror movie characters (the sort of behaviour that only gets worse from a – plot-mandated or otherwise the writers would have had to think - point where we start out with them expecting to get around in the Polish countryside just with their English and their perfect American teeth), and you see me losing my patience with The Shrine rather quickly.

It’s too bad though, for the film’s pre-possession supernatural phenomena in form of an unnaturally unmoving fog and a moving, bleeding statue are rather creepy, and the basic idea of having people do terrible things in an attempt to push back the darkness would lend itself to a much more thoughtful and deeper approach instead of this one’s bad comic book stylings. As it stands, this is a technically competent film let down by a script that doesn’t seem to know what to do with its more interesting elements and puts its money on a lot of generic horror film gestures I’ve seen dozens of times in better films. So, the usual.

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