The natural reaction is to repel everything being said
It is impossible to impress enough how attack-minded, bombarding and indoctrinating The Shack actually is. As a religious film, it not only waves away many of the issues it brings up as if they are unimportant, but it does so abysmally with its ‘blinkers on’ vision format.
When MacKenzie (Sam Worthington) is struck by a personal tragedy, he descends into a pit of despair, where he can see no way out. Yet, after falling in his front yard, he is knocked unconscious after hitting his head. When he awakes, there is a message in his letter box from Papa, the name his wife gives God. After following the message’s instructions, MacKenzie arrives at the shack to find three people he wasn’t even sure were real.
The Shack genuinely feels like it is instigating a debate with the audience. Silencing any opposers with even the slightest question not just arguing against the issues brought up, but any question at all. There is an undeniable attempt to wipe over everything with the same cloth and beat everything different into submission. Even the main character is forced to comply and it’s genuinely horrible to watch.
The first act is the only watchable element. There’s intrigue built from the beginning but as soon as Mackenzie reaches the shack it descends into irritating indoctrination. In fact, everything the film seems to stand for is not what religion holds to its chest so dear. This does Christianity no favours in a film that could have been very enlightening and uplifting. Yet the continuous bombardment of Christian beliefs and ideologies is just tiringly annoying.
The Shack is set out as a film about a man’s personal relationship with God, yet it just feels like a blatant attack on non-believers. This is not a film celebrating Christianity, it is one suggesting that there are no other options. The natural reaction is to repel everything being said. This really is an awful film.