Tuesday, June 30, 2015
"The Shrine": ritualistic sacrifice in a road horror film set in rural Poland
“The Shrine” (2010, John Knautz) is indeed a formulaic road horror movie, and even more graphic than most.
Three journalists (Aaron Ashmore from “Smallville”, Cindy Sampson and Megan Heffern) travel to rural Poland to locate a missing hiker, who had been investigating bee colony collapse disorder.
Soon they encounter hostile townspeople, who seem to run a strange religious cult. That sounds trite enough, but there is also a strange dark cloud hanging over the woods, and when you enter it, the world shifts to black and white and you’re walled off from the rest of creation (and effect like the film “The Corridor”). Soon they encounter monstrous skeletons covered with ironworks.
The rituals follow, but eventually we will learn that the townspeople have to engage in them to drive away an alien presence. The film does have suggestions of another horror concept, “The Wicker Man”.
Ashmore’s character Marcus has to do a home invasion to get out of this mess, something totally out of character for a normally good guy.
The official Facebook is here, IFC films (and Canada, DGC). The former official site has become a parked domain.
As for Poland, I rode from Cracow to Warsaw on the train in 1999, and it is very rural, with lots of low-tech farming.