The Shrine (2010)
Carmen, a young reporter for a small newspaper, travels to a rural Polish village investigating the disappearance of an American hiker. Along with her underling, Sara, and boyfriend/photographer, Marcus, she encounters gruff townspeople who are hostile to outsiders and clergymen with strange dress and odd customs. Their somber expressions and suspicious looks sufficiently build the feeling of paranoia. The trio locate the smoky cloud hovering above the treetops as described in the final entry of the hiker’s journal. Moving towards the site they discover it is actually a dense fog in a permanent position in the woods. Entering the thick shroud will unleash a chain of events that bring them face to face with true evil.
The film starts out a bit slow and the acting somewhat stiff early on, but the actors seem to settle into their roles as the film progresses. The plot, action, suspense and pacing just keep escalating as the movie continues. By the end I’m thinking to myself, this is a damn good horror flick. I was impressed with its plot twists and creepy climax. It is one of the better independent horror films I’ve seen in the past few years.
Marcus is played by Aaron Ashmore, who can now be seen in the FBI serial killer, crime drama, The Following on FOX. Composer, Ryan Shore received a Grammy Award for his score in this film. It was directed by Jon Knautz, (is that pronounced, Nuts? Awesome!) who also directed the comedy/horror, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. It is a Canadian film distributed through IFC Pictures. There’s not a lot of gore in the film, but there are some good suspenseful chase scenes as the reporters try desperately to escape the town. There are also some good creepy scenes, entertaining for fans of supernatural horror, movies about cults, and more traditional horror themes.