Shelter features Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Match Point
& From Paris With Love
) as a mental patient who displays some extremely convincing symptoms of multiple-personality disorder. Despite the generally held consensus that MPD is largely psychotherapist-induced, the patient displays physiological differences between his alters; such as being color-blind in one and paralysed in another. X-rays confirm that this is true paralysis, with a true change in spine and mobility ocurring when his personality 'switches'. As Cara (Julianne Moore - A Single Man
) delves deeper into each one of his alters, she discovers that her patient cannot be fabricating each personality as they were all real people with real backgrounds that he knows in too much detail to be synthesizing. Her paranoia peaks when the patient starts to absorb people she knows causing their untimely death. Running scared, Cara resorts to a rumoured witch community living in the mountains that maybe able to protect her daughter who has been marked for 'shelter', do they hold the solution to this phenomenom?
Shelter is a fantastic concept; the premise of more than one person occupying the same body had me intrigued from the off. The two leads are well acted and Meyers deserves accolades for his gamut of emotion throughout his performance, having to play many different character-types. The film falls flat on it's face after about half an hour as you start to question just where this is all going.
There is little explanation as to why people are marked for 'shelter' apart from being 'faithless' and it seemed a little odd to me that in 180 years of living the patient has only taken on 3 personalities then during the movie 'shelters' another 6 or 7 in rapid succession with no real motivation other than to torment his psychoanalyst. The soundwave analysis that Uncle Stephen (Nathan Corddry - Rob Corddry's little brother) does is just laughable. I really thought Hollywood had got over incredulous computer scenes in film but obviously not; he takes an image of a shadow from a still of CCTV and converts that into a soundwave that holds a voice, all the while tapping on his keyboard randomly and sipping a beer, listening to music. It was so cringeworthy it made me wish that whole scene had been left on the editing room floor, the movie would be better off for the experience. For the coup de grāce; the witch village is headed up by a gnarled little old lady, it couldn't have been much more cliché if they tried...
In conclusion, this starts out really well and has two strong actors to fill the roles, it just gets lost along the way and becomes another generic horror movie with paper-thin characters, relying on hackneyed plot mechanisms and mysticism to fill in the gaping story holes. Recommended for a decent supernatural thriller but it doesn't steal the show in any respect!