Monday, July 26, 2010
Fantasia Day 18 - The Shrine
This is exactly why I go to Fantasia. We saw the preview for The Shrine before the Last Exorcism (I think) and I said to my wife "oh that looks kind of cool." She replied, "you bought a ticket for it!" I had completely forgotten and I can't even remember what prompted me to choose it. So I was basically going in almost totally blind. For instance, I didn't even know it was a Canadian movie, something I usually try to be aware of, until some guy behind me in the line-up mentioned it.
This came up because these two girls in front of me had identical t-shirts that read "Cindy Sampson Cadet" with a picture of a woman. It turned out that Cindy Sampson is the star of the movie and that the two girls are close friends of hers who had come to support her (she was in Vancouver and couldn't make it, working I guess).
The Shrine is the story of a very ambitious reporter who takes her boyfriend and an intern to Poland for an unauthorized investigation of a missing American young man. I'm just going to leave it at that as far as the plot goes.
At first, the movie has a slight USA movie of the week feel, but it moves forward efficiently and you are pretty caught up in the situation. Once they get to Poland, the film really takes off and reveals itself to be very well done on all counts, but especially well-written. It's a very cool little story, with some good action and thrills (in particular an excellent foot chase in the forest that was for once well shot with a narrative to it; at the Q & A the actor said it took them 8 hours to shoot a 3-minute running scene and he was running the whole time; well it was well worth it).
I was a bit disappointed by the turn-out. The room was only a bit over half-full, so there were a lot of people who missed out. The producer said that they had literally finished colour-correcting the print two weeks ago and that he flew hear with it to get it shown here. This movie definitely should be picked up. It's a tight, scary (so far the only Fantasia movie to make me jump) and entertaining thriller. It's also entirely Canadian, produced with independent Canadian money and shot in Ontario. It is great to see that more and more Canadian movies are actually funny and entertaining. The Shrine is a great example of this (what I hope is a) trend and it is going to get the #4 spot in my rankings this year so far, which is no joke.