Shelter or 6 Souls as it’s known in the US is a horror/thriller film that was directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. It released in 2010 and stars Julianne Moore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Moore plays Dr. Cara Harding, a psychologist who embarks on a crusade to refute the existence of multiple personality disorder in a mysterious patient.
Cara’s father introduces her to Adam, a patient suspected to have multiple personality disorder. He does this in the hopes of convincing her to accept unexplainable psychiatric theories. Adam takes on physical characteristics of his other personalities but Cara isn’t buying it.
One of Adam’s personalities known as David Bernberg requires a wheelchair. Cara discovers that David was a real person who became a paraplegic and was murdered long ago. Cara visits David’s mother and tells her about Adam. Mrs. Bernberg agrees to meet Adam to help cure him but becomes distressed due to how convincing he is.
Afterwards, Adam becomes more aggressive to others. Then he begins to reveal more of his personalities. One of these is Wes, a metal band singer and Satanist suspected of committing suicide. Thinking he created the personalities as escapism, Cara visits his home. Once there, she finds it filthy, run-down, and full of devil worship objects. Also, finds a decomposing body in the bathtub.
Cara continues to go deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. Everything she believes in will be questioned and her faith will be pushed to the limit. Those close to her are about to be placed in serious danger. Check out Shelter to see what happens.
At first, Shelter seemed like it would be a very safe and generic film. The basic premise is simplistic and not particularly original. Nothing ground-breaking but I was intrigued to see where it would end up. However, at some point it becomes something far more complicated and severely convoluted. It’s quite a long-winded approach and it lost me around the halfway point.
There’s a character known as “Granny”. Shelter explains that by using some kind of magic, she was able to transform an evil priest into a sort of soul eating being. That man is Adam. His personalities are literally the very people that he has consumed. He chooses his victims based on their level of belief or faith in God. I just didn’t understand this at all. How was making him an immortal, powerful demon a punishment? Also, killing people because they don’t believe in God enough? Even a young child at one point. Believe in God or die, what a delightful message.
Cara, her scepticism and dwindling faith in God is a big part of the whole story. Again, didn’t get it. Personally, I don’t understand how someone can be a massive sceptic and a devout believer. Those two don’t go together in my mind. This made her character confusing and hard to relate to.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers switches between a handful of personas very convincingly. There’s subtle differences between them. He doesn’t change clothes or anything. His performance is probably the highlight of the whole movie. I couldn’t help but wonder if this inspired the film “Split” in any way.
There’s some gore to talk about. It’s minimal but what you do see is well done. There’s a rotting corpse that looks realistic. Also, Adam attacks someone and makes their eyeballs melt away which was pretty cool.
Overall, Shelter is long and confusing. I can’t say that I would recommend it or ever watch it again. I liked the idea of the initial concept before it went way off the deep end. It starts off as more of a psychological thriller and becomes a supernatural voodoo film, I wasn’t a fan. Still, there are certainly highlights that made it not a complete waste of time.
The Final Score - 4/10