Blu-Ray Review: The Shrine
After a wild weekend of partying I settled down in front of my TV on Sunday night to nurse my war wounds and considering my very fragile state I decided to brave the latest horror film to be released on Blu-Ray, The Shrine. Was this a wise move or did it tip me over the edge? Read on to find out…
As you read the synopsis of The Shrine you could be forgiven for thinking that you have seen this film countless of times before; the usual horror cliche of a group of young journalists investigating a spate of mysterious disappearances in a Strange European location no longer sounds appealing to me in a world where Hostel part three exists. Far from being your typical gruesome and pointless torture porn horror, The Shrine throws up enough unexpected turns to keep your eyes glued to the screen and whilst none of the ideas are particularly new or inspiring, the way they are included in the story is original enough to make this an enjoyable watch for horror fans.
Couple on the rocks Carmen (Cindy Sampson) and Marcus (Aaron Ashmore) are joined by Carmen’s younger journalist intern Sara to see if they can get the scoop of a lifetime to boost her ailing career and soon set off to Poland unaware of the dangers that await them. Hostile villagers, bizarre smoke above the forest and terrifying statues are just the start of the unnerving situations the group encounter and up until the final part of the film the audience are left in the dark as to the villager’s motives. All three of the characters make a number of questionable decisions, as is usually the case with horror films, but thanks to the story’s unique approach to the subject matter of bizarre cults I found myself able to overlook these minor flaws.
Some of the acting does lack conviction but for the most part the performances are solid enough to be believable. Trevor Matthews stood out as an actor to watch for the future, his role as the steadfast villager who warns the trio to leave the area adds an air of menace to the proceedings as he is constantly bristling with agression and at times he appears genuinely intimidating.
I’ll admit that there were a few startling moments in the film that did cause the occasional shudder, and people who are easily scared would do well to watch The Shrine with company, or at least a cushion or two to hide behind. If however you are like me and thrive on a good scary film, make sure that your surround sound is turned up loud – the creepy atmospherics add to the build up of tension and enhance the films eerie feeling that will leave you unsettled and on edge.
There have been a number of comparisons made to all kinds of horror films ranging from The Wicker Man to The Evil Dead but The Shrine does have enough innovation to stand on its own two feet. Jon Knautz who wrote the story as well as directing it has borrowed ideas from the classics and given them a fresh spin to ensure that this is something that horror fans will not have encountered before. In a world full of endless remakes and rehashed ideas it is great to see an innovative horror film and although it is not quite the classic it could have been, The Shrine is certain to obtain a cult following.
THE SHRINE IS OUT NOW ON BLU-RAY AND DVD IN UK
About The Author – Tom Bielby
Long time film fan and aspiring film writer, Tom is a horror fanatic who wasted far too much time at University sitting through every film in the IMDB Top 250. He is partial to foreign films and cult cinema and would love to rid the world of people who rustle their popcorn during important scenes. He can be found on Twitter under the alias @filmbantha
Does The Shrine sound like a film you would enjoy or do scary films leave you a nervous wreck? Let us know your thoughts below…