Whether or not you’re a fan – let alone heard of – the novel Shrine, it’s time to get excited! Cult icon and blockbuster director Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spider-Man) will return as producer for the adaptation of the 1983 international bestseller by the late James Herbert, an English horror novelist who designed his own book jackets and managed his own publicity. Raimi, who hasn’t helmed a horror film since 2009’s slapstick hell-raiser Drag Me to Hell, has been quite busy behind the production of a few heavy hitting horror films. Raimi was instrumental in the revitalization of The Grudge and the latest Alexandre Aja film, Crawl (both set to be released sometime in 2019), and Shrine is looking to capture the director’s particular knack for the supernatural.
Opening with quotes from the likes of Grimm’s fairy tales, J.M. Berry’s Peter Pan and Hans Christian Anderson (The Little Mermaid), Shrine tells of the miracle that befalls a deaf-mute girl named Alice Pagett, whose ailments are inexplicably remedied after an encounter with a tree behind her local church. Soon, the small village is inhabited by an influx in travelers who have come to seek endowment from Alice, who now has the ability to perform miracles. However, the churches priest, Father Hagan, senses a dark and malevolent force behind the acts, and soon the village and its people are engulfed in a sinister force.
It’s a novel that’s bereft with demonic possession, hysteria and sacrilegious undertones; all traits that seem right up Raimi’s alley. And while one could only hope for a project of this caliber to put the director back behind the camera, it’s enough to warrant Ghost House Pictures – Robert Tapert (the creator of Xena: Warrior Princess) and Raimi’s 2002 production company – to get involved.
Set to be directed and written by Evan Spilotopoulos, whose previous writing credits include the live-action Beauty and the Beast (2017), and Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules (2011), Shrine will mark the writers first foray into directing, and as a particular deadite can attest, the horror genre is an invariably creative place to start. Maybe someday soon we can expect another directorial effort by Raimi, but until then, a production of an adaptation from an author penned “The Stephen King Across The Pond” is certainly, well, groovy!