The Shrine: Movie Review

Journalists can be put into some dangerous situations all for the sake of obtaining the next big story. For Carmen, her ambitious tendencies to rise to the top of the news world get her into deep water with a religious cult set on keeping their land sacred. The horror, The Shrine, follows a group of young journalists whom made the wrong decision in order to meet a deadline.

The 2010 horror, The Shrine, written and directed by Jon Knautz, stars Cindy Sampson (Supernatural) as Carmen and Aaron Ashmore (Warehouse 13) as her photographer boyfriend, Marcus, and follows them on a fateful trip to Poland for a breaking news story. The relationship between the pair is rocky from the beginning due to Carmen’s overzealousness toward her career; however; when she discovers a missing person’s case in a foreign country, she convinces Marcus to come along and help her capture the truth.

Unbeknownst to her boss, whom believes she is covering a story on bees, Carmen takes intern, Sara, along with them for their mysterious journey. Once the group arrive in Poland, they immediately locate the village where the missing boy was last seen and aren’t greeted with open arms from the locals.

When the group notice a mysterious fog mentioned by the missing person in a journal entry, Carmen insists that they need to investigate, despite the warnings from angry villagers to leave. Carmen explains that if she doesn’t get a story she will lose her job and Marcus agrees to see their journey through.

The fog holds many questions and both Carmen and Sara lose their way inside, running into a creepy statue that sets the stage for the rest of the film. Following their brief disorientation in the forest, the group follow a young girl to an underground tomb and find their missing person. After their discovery, all hell breaks lose for the group whom must run for their lives from the bloodthirsty locals.

The film was mediocre at best and included a plot revolving around a curse, which has already been done before and done better. The characters were not likeable from the very beginning, which made the viewing experience harder because it was difficult to root for the individuals to make it out of the situation alive.

Cindy Sampson doesn’t have the likeability and acting strength to stand out as a lead in a horror film. The first scenes of the film were awkward and they set the tone for the relationship between the main couple–which was a bad one. Right off the bat, Carmen and Marcus are bickering at each other, resulting in Carmen coming off as a bitch and Marcus coming off as a slub. There wasn’t any chemistry between the pair from the start and it wasn’t believeable to see them fight for each other throughout the film’s stressful situations.

The storyline didn’t make very much sense; the journalists knew exactly where the missing person was before he disappeared so, why didn’t the police investigate the situation? Especially when the individual was so easy to find. I guess if that happened, we wouldn’t have a movie!

Along with the questionable plot, there were several scenes where the setting looked too unnatural, taking the viewer away from the experience and making the entire piece appear cheap. There were a few times where it was apparent that the actors were acting out on a soundstage rather than an actual location, causing the movie to look like something that was made to premiere on Syfy.

Aside from the cheap direction, the film did pick up toward its final act, once the danger becomes completely visible. The curse is understood and it was awesome to see how it effected Carmen and Marcus and to see how they handled the situation. My only problem with this was that the scenes that occurred during the climax were very reminiscent of The Exorcist, again making the film seem uncreative.

The Shrine brought nothing new to the table as far as curse-movies go. It seems as though the director and writers took parts of other movies which revolved around the topic and threw them into their film at various spots. The acting was subpar and the characters were completely unlikeable, making it hard for the audience to relate or feel for any of them. If you don’t mind waiting until the film’s final act to catch some cool possession-filled bloodshed then check this one out on Netflix. Otherwise, it can be skipped because you wouldn’t be missing much!


  1. Aaron

    I agree. Found it to be very average and it brought nothing new to the table. Disappointing because John Knautz seemed like a promising horror director based on JACK BROOKS. Hopefully he brings it the next time around.

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