Written by Scotty
Wanting to know the reason for everything is something we strived to learn since our youth and using the word ‘Why’. Why is the sky blue? Why does the dog chase its tail? Why can’t we do it? Every parent understands this question and even the most book smart of them will still come back to the old standard of saying ‘Because! That’s why’. We all have our points that we can be pushed to and even though we will never have all the answers, it does not keep us from wanting to know just one more thing.
Struggling reporter Carmen is being punished by her editor for running a controversial story that has brought unwanted attention down on the magazine. Being told to look into what she considers a fluff piece on the lack of bees around farms, Carmen has a better story she wants to investigate about five different American tourists that have gone missing in Poland. She is shot down on the idea and is informed that she will be doing what she is told until she has proven herself to him again.
Not backing down, Carmen comes up with a plan of taking her intern Sara and boyfriend Marcus to this remote town outside of Poland and get to the bottom of these strange disappearances. Acquiring the journal of the latest missing person, she stumbles onto something that seems very strange, a plume of smoke in the middle of the forest that stays stationary and does not move at all. Finding the old town, it is not difficult to get around until the three notice the unmoving smoke plume in the forest. When they tried to approach it, the town’s people seemed to become angry and try to scare away the group.
Wanting to know more about what is going on and why the towns people only seem to care about the strange area of the woods, they sneak back into forest and investigate themselves. Locating the plume again, the three are stunned to see it at ground level and take note of how thick the motionless fog seems to be. Sara is first to enter the strange smoke and is gone for quite some time before Carmen gets suspicious and runs in after her. Finding a statue of what seems to be a demon, Carmen snaps a couple of photos of the beast but whenever she moves, the head of the statue follows her. Being lost in the demons lifeless eyes for several seconds, the trance is broken and Carmen makes her way back to safety.
Rejoining the group, Carmen is ready to leave this strange place when she notices a little girl from the town that wants to help them with their investigation. Marcus tries to talk his girlfriend out of the expedition, but is overruled and has to follow along. Being led into a cave in the side of a hill, the group discovers it is the final resting place of the travelers that have gone missing. Seeing that they all are wearing a strange mask that is bolted into their heads, Carmen is upset she will not be able to have photographic evidence of the identities but knows that they are on to something very strange. The little girl vanishes from the group and locks them in the cave and waits for her family to come and take over. The town’s people assemble and try to restrain the tourists but find that the Americans have a very strong will to survive, even if it is not for the betterment of mankind.
The Shrine is a based in a little town outside of Poland that is trying to hide a dark secret from its past. With different people coming to visit, it is not out of the ordinary for pictures to be taken and questions to be asked, but when a plume of smoke is approached it is time for the people to leave. Carmen, Sara and Marcus have all seen too much around the area and are now being chased by the town’s people to make sure nothing is said. When Sara is captured she is placed on an alter and sacrificed to some spirit, the group is left into the dark as to why as they do not speak or understand the language. Marcus is able to rescue Carmen before she is met with the same fate as Sara, but is he right for doing so?
This is a shining example of a movie that could go down as one of the best for a possession tale. One thing that I know audiences want to know is what everyone is saying and this film will not give that to you. Having the town’s people only speak sporadically in English and the rest of the film in their native tongue adds to the chill factor. If the characters are not able to understand why or what is happening, should the audience? I would have to answer that question by saying no, it would take away from what you are feeling in the film and ruin the entertainment factor. With great fright shots of ghouls around the sacrifices, you may be left wondering what the demon in the middle of the forest is really doing there. Stay Scared.