Once again, the folks at the IFC have sent out an advance look at a chunk of movie goodness in the form of The Shrine. And while The Shrine will be short on sense, it will be incredibly long on horror action.
The Shrine follows, indirectly, a backpacker who goes missing in Europe, and directly, the film crew who goes in search of his whereabouts and eventual fate. Of course, you can pretty much guess that what happened to the backpacker wasn’t anything good, but when you get a look at just what happened to him–and what will likely happen to the pursuing film crew–is going to be a whole lot deeper and nastier than anyone (least of all the aforementioned pursuing film crew) would ever expect.
I’m always fond of anything coming out of the IFC, and while they’ve had their missteps in the past, they’ve also put out a whole lot of prime content. So when The Shrine got started a little on the slow side, I was eager to forgive. After all, this was IFC we were talking about, and these guys knew their stuff.
My patience was rewarded with a delightfully creepy scene about twelve minutes in. Suddenly, this took on a whole new life of gleeful fury.
Sinister, sinister, sinister. That’s the order of the day right here, it’s a constant string of non-stop sinister. Between the sheer amount of time they’ll spend in Eastern European bizarrity, and the nature of what’s going on (that naturally I can’t tell you very much about), there will be a lot of time here in which you feel that something is gravely wrong beneath the surface. And toward the end, that whole “beneath the surface” is going to burst out into a whole and breathing and thoroughly terrible life. Seriously, if you’re watching this thing, and you ever think it’s slow and boring and deeply unpleasant, I’m telling you, stick with it. The last half hour of The Shrine is going to be a hallucinatory hell ride the likes of which have not recently been seen in film. Seriously, it’s going to be the action movie equivalent of The Exorcist.
And that’s what really makes this interesting; this is going to go from slow and sludgy start to a horrendous, action-packed, terror-fraught ending that isn’t going to make a lot of sense, but will be all the more terrifying for the note of confusion it inspires. The final explanation doesn’t do a lot to help, sadly, but even then it’s sufficiently sinister to make it a huge extra blow.
The Screenhead Ten Scale, in response, peels itself off the wall and gives the often confusing yet deeply horrifying The Shrine an eight out of ten. It may be slow, it may not do a great job of explaining everything, but man, will that last half hour ever blow your mind.