From all appearances, Mack Phillips seems to have a good life; three great children, a beautiful wife, lovely home — nothing seems amiss.
However, when Mack takes the children for an overnight camping trip, what starts out as a fun getaway soon turns into a parent’s most horrifying nightmare. His youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted from their campsite and her body is never recovered.
Facing this enormous tragedy, Mack sinks into a ‘great sadness’ and all the ghosts that he thought he had buried long ago resurface and push him to the edge of a breakdown. It is at this time, at his darkest hour, that Mack receives a mysterious note in his mailbox with an invitation from God to meet at the shack – the place where Missy’s bloody dress was found. In a desperate attempt to find closure and answers to his daughter’s murder, Mack heads back into the Oregon wilderness to confront the killer or God…or both.
This film is a story that explores the depths of intense heart break and personal pain which can be triggered by circumstances that are both tragic and completely random. It talks about the resiliency of the human spirit among unimaginable loss, as a grieving father faces the hardest decision of his life – to forgive the unforgivable.
The films is based on a best-selling novel about a father’s uplifting spiritual journey, and William Paul Young, author of the book, explains the metaphor ‘the shack’.
‘The shack is the place of devastation on the inside. It’s the house that we all build when some of us didn’t get good help,’ he said. ‘It’s the place we store all of our addictions and hide our secrets, and we don’t ever want anybody in there because we’re terrified they will hate us as much as we already do. In order to heal, you’ve got to go back to the places where you were broken — you can’t go around it, you can’t ignore it.’
Mack’s trust and abandonment issues all come out of a horribly abusive childhood, one full of demons that have never been dealt with—until now.
Mack’s wife is deeply faithful and goes to the church every week. In comparison, Mack’s faith is at best surface deep because he’s still so wounded as a child.
She invites Mack to the shack, where Mack learns about how to process grief and many other important things.