The new supernatural horror-thriller Shelter looks set to become one of the most endearing films to be released of 2010 so far. It will startle you, make you squirm and most importantly, keep you intrigued and guessing right until the end….and beyond.
It centres on Dr. Cara Jessup (Julianne Moore), a devoted scientist yet a woman of God. No matter the things life throws at her, including the horrifying murder of her husband, she keeps her faith. She makes a living out of challenging those that claim they have multiple personality disorders. However when introduced to Adam (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), she meets a man about to challenge everything she believes. The further she delves into Adam’s background the more she unearths about his condition and it is not all natural. When the life of her daughter is put at risk, she must push past her beliefs in God as well as science and take a road that explores something a little more supernatural.
The thing about the narrative structure the film follows is that the audience learn about Adam’s condition at the same pace as Dr. Jessup. When she takes a step further into his fractured psyche, as do we, the people watching. Together audience and protagonist experience one startling moment after another; from Adam’s neck movements and his sudden appearances to the emerging corpses he leaves in his tracks. It gets to the critical point where each side of the camera has the complete story and then audiences watch as Adam is dealt with. Camera angels and music back up the strong narrative very well. As Halloween set you on edge with its music, the suspense filled style here puts you on the edge of your seat, sometimes for a fright, but at other times to build a false preservation.
Casting the characters appears spot on. Moore as Dr. Jessup is a windowed working mother, trying to look after her daughter, deal with the death of her husband and still carry on as normal. She looks the part and at first appears fragile but gains much strength as her relationship with Adam develops. Meyers is astonishing as Adam, an undetermined mind. It is as though he takes on a bundle load of characters from old men to a little girl to a wheelchair bound young man. He alters his accent as well as his entire persona depending on the requirements the characters needs; a brilliant man to watch.
Be warned for an unexpected and quite intriguing ending. Not sure if it is preparation for a sequel or just an opened ended narrative…you decide.