MOVIE REVIEW: The Shack

A young boy kills his father by poisoning his alcohol, and gets away with it, when he’s in his mid thirties, or early 40’s he takes his three children out to a lake to go camping.  When he’s distracted saving his son from drowning a child murderer takes his youngest daughter.  After they bury an empty casket the man finds himself in a depression then an invitation comes from God to go to a shack in the middle of the woods where the daughter was killed.

Ok folks… I’m going to review this movie and I want to make it clear I don’t care about your religion.  I don’t care if you get up on a Sunday, I don’t care if you let snakes bite you, I don’t care if you run naked through the woods screaming for Satan.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that if your religion works for you and doesn’t harm another person, good luck, I don’t care about it, but if it works for you and makes you happy that’s all good.  I care about people, I care that we all get to live as we decide, worship how our hearts lead us, and realise that religion isn’t something that can be forced on someone.  If your words cannot bring me to your church then guess what a bomb isn’t going to do it.  I was raised a Catholic but as soon as questionable thought came to me I never really went back.  Now I’m open.  I don’t have a religion other than love and peace. 

So when we get a film that is for one religious belief and is so sugary that my diabetes leaves me in a coma I tend to get a little bit annoyed.  There are parts to the story that could have led us to a story that would have knocked me out of the park.  I get the feeling that the script writer had an idea for an episode of Criminal Minds and someone went, let’s have God in there instead of a resolution to the child’s murder.  Then an Executive probably came in saying ‘Well we can get a lot of money from Christian groups to make this,’ and I spent two hours of my life that I shall never get back again.

Sam Worthington plays the man who loses his daughter and if you isolate his performance away from the heavy-handed religious stuff it’s very good.  I liked him in a lot of films and Man on Ledge was a great film.  I don’t know why he’s here.  Octavia Spencer plays God, or as she is called in the movie Papa, and once again I’m scratching my head wondering why.  You go from The Help and Hidden Figures to this? To THIS?

I can imagine that these performers that I enjoy watching on-screen are highly religious and I can also imagine that the story of forgiveness and hope, coming to God, and family is appealing.  But aside from the few good points that I’ve already mentioned this is a TV movie and reminded me of Touched by an Angel or Highway to Heaven, which are basically the same shows.  If this was a TV movie on one of the Christian TV channels that we never venture near on our cable box I could have avoided it.  I would not pay to see this in the cinema nor would I watch it again.  Having said that though if you are a Christian then this may be the type of the entertainment that rocks your boat.  If you look at it from that point of view it’s more like a four or five out of five.  For me though it was too preachy, and the message of having to forgive the killer of your child before you can heal yourself, was so idiotic that I nearly spit out my rice cake.  If that were me the only forgiveness for the killer of my child would be after I strangle the life out of them.  I’m sure any deity would understand that reaction.  Chat soon and may your God go with you!

Director: Stuart Hazeldine
Writers: John Fusco, Andrew Lanham, William P. Young, Destin Daniel Cretton, Wayne Jacobsen, Brad Cummings
Stars: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw

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