Old school horror is something that is pretty tough to come around in this day and age of watered down Hollywood productions and cash grabs masquerading around as females. When something does come along and is reminiscent of the older days it either makes zilch at the box office thus snuffing out the will to continue making good original horror or they sneak under the radar and get dumped on DVD down the road. THE SHRINE is a film that takes elements of old school horror techniques and styles and comes out with a product that would have been pretty great- if only the first half didn’t suck pretty hard.
A trio of pretty people- a journalist, her assistant and her boyfriend who also happens to be a photographer wonder off to foreign territories to investigate a series of disappearances even after being told not to pursue the story. Once they are in hot pursuit of the source they stumble upon a fog in the middle of a wooded area where a mysterious statue lurks. Shortly after a group of locals tracks them down and holds them captive as they prepare some sort of cult ritual on them.
I must say that the first half of this movie was a total bore and was acted horrendously. It took every ounce of willpower I had not to shut it off or get up put my attention to something more productive. Once the three pretty people discover the statue in the fog though, things take a pretty satisfying turn as it becomes a whole hell of a lot more interesting. The last hour or so of the film features the appearance of strange demon like creatures, some decent gore and the silencing of the movies most annoying character and worst actress I’ve seen in quite some time. I only let those juicy tidbits fly because I feel like most people like me would have shut the movie off before they get to that point and I feel like the last half of the movie is worth sitting through despite the atrocious first half.
The only somewhat decent actor that speaks 100% English in the film is the Iceman’s nearly identical twin Aaron Ashmore- the cult members speak almost no English so there’s a cultural disconnect there that I can’t quite distinguish if what they are delivering is believable dialogue or incoherent drivel. Once the blood starts flowing the acting becomes much more bearable and the film becomes infinitely more interesting.
The most interesting choice- though some might call it lazy- is the fact that there are zero subtitles in this movie. That means that during the last half when the cult members are conducting their ritual or talking to one another or to the victims you have no clue whatsoever what they are saying, unless you speak the language. I don’t speak it and I found the last half much more tense and interesting because of it.