Well, probably because I thought it would be terrible - and that was before I stumbled upon all the negative reviews of this film.
I didn't read other's reviews until after I watched this film and I am at a loss at to why The Shrine received so much negative nancy attention. Total loss. Some people complained about the broken spoken Polish. Some thought it was slow-paced, boring. While some thought it was downright awful for reasons that elude me.
I disagree with every negative review of this film that I've stumbled upon. Wholeheartedly disagree.
The story line is quick, sharp, and clever. The acting and characters were enticing, sympathetic, typical ... but not too typical, which I enjoyed a great deal. The scenery was lovely, spooky, yet surprisingly quaint and sweet. The demons were terrifying, well played, and shocking. Just look at this one!
Come on now, people, this stuff was scary!
Something that I particularly enjoyed (that others criticized) was the Polish spoken in this film. As a viewer who doesn't speak Polish, I thoroughly enjoyed the lack of captions when the locals spoke among themselves. I was left in the dark just as much as the American journalists traveling to this backwoods unknown territory. Clever Move! That was a very clever way to connect the audience with the horrors of the characters.
And yet, apparently, the Polish spoken in this film is broken and with Russian accents. Frankly, I don't give a damn. If I watched a foreign film where an actor performed as an American but had a French accent then I'd be like, "...guess that's an American with a French accent". I don't see where this, or The Shrine's scenario is a problem or why some viewers were offended.
Also, apparently some were upset about the little Polish town these nosy American journalists were investigating. I guess some felt it was an inaccurate representation of Poland as a whole. Well, no shit. Again, if I saw a foreign film about a small backward town in America, where everyone was religiously weird, dressed in old fashioned clothes, and appeared ignorant, then I'd be like, "hey look, it's my home town!" No, seriously, I hope viewers of any type of entertainment understands that a small sliver of a community in a movie, newspaper article, book, documentary, etc. is never the example of an entire country.
Maybe I'm missing something culturally significant hidden deeper than IMDB reviews...but I don't think so.
In any case, I Liked The Polish! And the backwards community! It plays a significant role in the film!
I really enjoyed this film's soft steps into the unknown, the fast movements once things were uncovered, and the bada bing bada boom ending! Did not see that coming, folks! They've got some surprises tucked nicely in this one.
Recommended pairing: pierogies (seriously, that's what were having for dinner BEFORE I started this film), or something juicy and squishy - preferably red. Casserole Surprise will work nicely as well. Red wine or Polish beer to match. Watch either alone in the dark just after midnight mass, or with friends at anytime.