To quote the famous American poet Glenn Danzig: Possession! Possessssiooonn! Possession! Ever since The Exorcist creeped its way into cinema history we’ve been getting movies about people who are possessed. And you would think that by now we’ve seen every possible variation of this story. And you would be wrong. Shelter AKA 6 Souls is a movie that starts off as your usual psychological thriller before turning into a supernatural one with strong occult influences. And you know me, I love occult influences. The entire movie has a sort of The X-Files vibe.
It has that clash between science and superstition, trying to get both of the teams. We’ve seen this in the more recent exorcism movie The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins. However, the real root, I believe, is one of the best movies in the genre, the 2005 masterpiece The Exorcism of Emily Rose. The first thing that’s going to hit you while watching Shelter is the excellent camera work. Then you’re going to start to notice solid production values. The opening thirty minutes features some pretty good dialogue delivered by an excellent cast.
Without Julianne Moore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, this would’ve been a much worse movie. The story itself is quite interesting, offering a refreshing take on the whole possession thing. It’s trying to ground it by countering the narrative with a thorough psychological examination. If you like movies about psychologists, I’m sure you’re going to like this one because it comes with this almost cheesy twist. However, there’s enough meat on the bones here to warrant a viewing.
Cara Harding is a psychiatrist, who’s intrigued by a multiple personality disorder. Denying that it exists, she’s trying to figure out what is happening then with persons supposedly suffering from this illness and what’s the root of the problem. As Joseph Kinkirk, a convicted murderer is sent to be executed, she is on a race with time to determine the cause of his behavior. By closely examining the personalities that surface she will soon discover that all of them have something in common. And that will put her in grave danger…
Do you believe in the multiple personality disorder? I have to say that although I’m not an expert I find it hard to fully commit to the concept. Although I do not want to say that I don’t believe in it. It’s just that it seems a bit counterintuitive and I think that a milder explanation of these phenomena would be more appropriate. Moving on, what I loved about the movie Shelter is its willingness to go deep and not remain on the surface. It takes things seriously and this creates a very immersive and, at times, creepy atmosphere.
Especially towards the end when things start escalating. The severeness of that escalation is dependent on your own personal beliefs and your willingness to suspend them. And, if you’re a believer, things will be even scarier. Still, you should know that I as an atheist, still found this movie worth watching. If you’re looking for movies like Shelter AKA 6 Souls check out The Skeleton Key and Angel Heart.
Directors: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
Writer: Michael Cooney
Cast: Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jeffrey DeMunn, Frances Conroy, Nathan Corddry
Fun Facts: Despite the relatively big budget of $22 million, Shelter made only $3 during its limited theatrical run. This is probably because it was scheduled to be a video-on-demand title.