'Shelter' (2010): A Twisted Version of 'Split' With Spirituality
Quick Film Info
Directors: Måns Magnus Mårlind and Björn Stein are both Swedish directors and screenwriters. Both went to Stockholm University and American Film Institute together and team up often. Their highest grossing film was Underworld: Awakening (2012).
Writer: Michael Cooney wrote it under the title 6 Souls. He is also a director known for the horror movie Jack Frost and its sequel Jack Frost 2.
His previous film, Identity (2003) features the same multiple personality disorder as seen in this film. Making the movie Identity inspired him to tackle the same subject with a different narrative.
Date of Release:
- Under the title 6 Souls in 2013.
- First released in Japan in 2010 under the title of Shelter.
Genre: Psychological thriller.
Budget: $22 million.
Box Office: $3.2 million.
What's it About?
Shelter is also called 6 Souls depending where you live.
Julianne Moore is Dr. Cara—a psychiatrist who, after the death of her husband, has turned her faith to science.
Cara's father is also a psychiatrist and wants her to meet Adam. Adam is a man with multiple personalities and some of the personalities belong to dead people.
The more Cara investigates Adam's past, the closer she gets to the truth of who Adam really is. Is it science or God that can save him?
Shelter—Trailer, Courtesy of YouTube
My Thoughts on the Film
Julianne Moore's a bit hit and miss with successful movie roles.
Hannibal (2001), Carrie (2013) and Part 1 and 2 of The Hunger Games are a few that I like her in. I really enjoyed Moore's performance in Shelter. If it wasn't for her, Jeffrey DeMunn and Francis Conroy, the storyline would have fallen apart. Casting deserves a pat on the back.
The movie itself does a pretty good job of allowing you to get swept up in Dr. Cara's attempt to debunk Adam's affliction as simply an elaborate ruse. it's clear this is not a run-of-the-mill case. Cara begins to uncover some really spooky abnormalities in her investigation of Adam and his past and his different personas. Adam definitely displays symptoms of a multiple personality disorder. Small clues and background stories give you an idea of what is really going on with Adam.
The cinematography is superb and the atmosphere retains the slow-build tension that creeps its way into events. Nearly every shot is dark and ominous, even when they are out in the daytime (which they seldom aren't.)
I couldn't help but think of the movie Split (2016) while watching this movie. Using this affliction is a very clever way of making a psychological thriller. Shelter uses imagery of Adam turning into one of his alters as an opportunity to throw in some harrowing pictures of an almost physical transformation right before your eyes. Compared to Split it features most of the changes off-screen.
The two movies are very similar in dealing with personality disorders to portray people with very dark secrets. Secrets that unleash in the form of other alters, most of which are evil. The two movies part ways when the question of whether Adam has a disorder or not rears its head. In comparison, Split is very clear early on there is a battle between all of his alters to suppress the main antagonist alter known as—The Beast.
Questioning whether Adam suffers from too many personalities, the film twists into a completely different direction. The ending is solid and enables all the loose ends to be neat and tidy. Shelter gets you thinking back through certain scenes to put pieces together way after the credits have rolled.
Critics trashed this movie online, and most seemed to not-understand the movie's heavy plot. Complaints were about why events occurred. This definitely comes under the 'thinking person's movie' heading and you do need to pay it some attention.
Julianne Moore is a self-confessed atheist and her fans hated that Shelter is totally against the concept of God being introduced to the narrative. I didn't think the religious components were heavy-handed and no matter what ethos you live by it's still enjoyable.
It's not the type of flick you can half-watch while cooking dinner with its runtime at 112 minutes. There are many tiny details scattered throughout that paste this film together. The story as a whole steers clear of being generic and sticks a unique premise firmly back in.
Shelter could have done with a little more excitement though. It had more than ample time to add some more visual shock elements. I like a bit more thrill in my thrillers and by that, I don't mean gore. This film had plenty of meat to work with and plenty of money for some more special effect grandeur.
I give Shelter aka 6 Souls 3.5 wheelchair bound psychopaths out of 5.
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Other Movies About Multiple Personality Disorders
- Voices Within (1990): A story about a high functioning woman with 92 different personalities based on a real person Truddi Chase.
- Earl Brooks—Mr Brooks (2007): With just two personalities, one is a serial killer and the other a mild-mannered gentleman, the two collide in a battle as to who will have control.
- Sybil (2007): The remake of the 1976 movie of the same name features a biographical account of a woman called Sybil, her life and the unpredictable events that can occur for those with the disorder.
- Waking Madison (2010): A more fictional creation about Madison who decides that locking herself inside her house for 30 days will allow her to figure out who she is by keeping a video diary.
- United States of Tara (T.V Series 2011): A comedy series about Tara, a housewife who has multiple personalities and a family and friends that love and understand her.
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