Tuesday, 20 March 2012
The Shrine (2010)
It was about 2 years ago I was watching a horror channel on TV when a movie came on that stood out much better than the stuff they usually showed. This movie was Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer and ever since, it's become a favorite horror comedy of mine and holds a special place in my heart. It was also the first feature from director Jon Knautz, and a debut full feature that good definitely shows potential for an exciting future. Ever since Jack Brooks I've kept an eye on Jon Knautz's career and waited patiently for his second feature, The Shrine to hit UK shores. I nearly forgot about it until I picked it up earlier from a local supermarket. I put this on with high expectations, perfectly aware it was totally different from his debut. I had faith that it would be a good movie, but THIS GOOD... I had no idea that it would become the best horror film I've seen in a couple of years.
The Shrine is about a group of journalists who visit a rural Polish village to investigate missing persons. They believe that the village is inhabited by a cult. When they arrive in the village they discover a strange mist, and inside the mist they discover a strange statue.
Now, if I say more I'll give too much away. After they discover the statue the movie truly gets going. You might think you've seen it all before, but this really isn't what you expect at all...
As I said, this is a totally different shift from the horror comedy 80's throwback of Jack Brooks. This is a serious horror movie. One could be forgiven for assuming it to be a simple horror mystery, where a group of foreigners become unwelcome guests and targets of a cult. Reading the synopsis, that's how it would appear - but it's so much more than that. Now, don't get too amped up. It certainly isn't 100% original and genre defining, but it isn't what you expect and it's one of the smarter horror films in recent times. It's a fun flick, with some creepy moments and just when it has you thinking Wicker Man, it turns on you. Now, you'll see the twist coming but the movie more or less deliberately presents it to you anyway. Things are not as they would appear in this one and it lets you know.
The Shrine is fresh and should really establish Jon Knautz as one of the most exciting directors in the genre today, along with Ti West, Jason Eisener and Adam Green. He's made two totally different movies, both of which deserve cult classic status. From what I understand, his next venture is going to be a black comedy, followed by the second installment of Jack Brooks. He's definitely one to watch, and along with Trevor Matthews he has a great co-writer and actor. It's 2 horror fanboys writing good horror and making good movies. They're not changing the game, but they sure do remind us of what can be be so great about it.