'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 who 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 and is well known for his work on the horror movie Jack Frost and its sequel Jack Frost 2. His previous film, Identity (2003), has a similar antagonist in it's story and 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: Those in the USA may be scratching their heads to find this. It was released under the title 6 Souls in 2013 after being first released in Japan in 2010 under the title of Shelter. It's highly unusual for a movie of any type to be released in Japan first, especially one that is of American origin. This movie was released in a half dozen or so other countries between 2010 and its release in 2013. Why? I for one don't know—especially seeing it's a movie with religious tones and Japan is a secular country.
Genre: Psychological thriller.
Budget: $22 million.
Box Office: $3.2 million.
What's it About?
This movie is currently showing on Netflix (Au.) If you enjoyed the movie 'Split' (2017) and like a solid multiple personality thriller, then this will satiate your tastes.
Shelter or 6 Souls or whatever it chooses to call itself begins with Julianne Moore playing 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, a man with multiple personalities. Some of Adam's personalities belong to people who have died. 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 (who plays Dr. Cara) is a little hit and miss in her successful movie roles but she has been in a few good ones like Hannibal (2001), Carrie (2013) and Part 1 and 2 of The Hunger Games. I consider her acting ability solid and during this movie I once again enjoyed her performance. If it wasn't for her, and other notable actors such as Jeffrey DeMunn and Francis Conroy, I'm not sure this movie would have been able to hold up the story line. The characters were very well cast and Francis Conroy's character of a murder victims mother seemed as natural as water in this film.
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. Early on though, it becomes quite clear that this is not a run-of-the-mill case as she begins to uncover some really spooky abnormalities in her investigation of Adam and his past and his different personas. Although 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 well shot to make sure the atmosphere remains an addition to 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) the entire way through and realise that using this affliction is a very clever way of making a psychological thriller. Shelter uses the 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 where most of his changes occur while off-screen.
The two movies are very similar in that they deal with the same disorder and portray someone who has very dark secrets that unleash in the form of other alters, most of which are evil. The two movies part ways on being the same when the question about whether Adam has a disorder or not rears its head. In comparison, Split is very clear early on that there is a battle between all of his alters to suppress the main antagonist alter known as—The Beast.
As soon as you begin to question whether Adam is actually has one too many personalities, the film twists into a completely different direction which was a nice surprise. The ending in particular gave a certain surprise element I didn't see coming until I realised what had happened and I felt it tied up a lot of the loose ends. This film had me thinking back to certain scenes and putting the pieces together which I like in a story.
Some critics trashed this movie online, however, most seemed to not-understand the movie's heavy plot. Some were mistaken about why events occurred. I guess you could call this film a 'thinking person's' movie.
I found it interesting to discover that Julianne Moore is a self-confessed atheist and it seems these same people who hated this film are totally against the concept of God being introduced to the narrative, but you really need to hang in there right to the end to see that this theme is not too heavy-handed nor tries to impart any righteous sentiments.
It's not the type of flick you can half-watch while cooking dinner, you really need to pay attention. The run time is 112 minutes and it's easy to become distracted by other things but there are tiny details scattered throughout that paste this film together. The story as a whole takes the generic nature out and sticks a unique premise firmly back in.
I didn't mind this movie. It could have done with a little more excitement considering 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 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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