This Day in Horror

20 October 2016

31 Days of Horror Day 20: The Shelter 2016 - REVIEW


Yesterday I watched a film that made me question why I watch indie films. Today I watched one that reminds me. Of course I guess you can say it's a crap shoot with any movie, really. Personally, I hated The Revenant but it was nominated for a ton of Oscars. Movies are like anything else in that they are open for interpretation. What one person loves, another may hate but opinions are what makes the world go round. If we were all just a bunch of like minded simpletons there would be no discussions or debates or silly fights about what movie to watch or which way the toilet paper goes on the roller (it's over BTW). Life would be boring.

The Shelter follows Thomas (Michael Paré) as he struggles to deal with the death of his wife Maryam (Gayle James) and their unborn daughter years earlier. When he finds the door of a seemingly abandoned house wide open, he decides to settle in for the night. After raiding the fridge and having a nice bath, he sits down to watch some TV and drifts off to sleep. Things get confusing for him when he wakes up to discover a gun in his lap and soon discovers that the house will not let him leave.

The strength of an actor is measured by how well they carry a film and I have to say Paré is brilliantly cast in the role of Thomas. He brings something to the character that director John Fallon would be hard pressed to find in anyone else. In this role, he is the epitome of a tortured soul in search of any kind of redemption he can find, usually in the bottom of a bottle. Paré spends most of the film alone, only being joined by costars in the beginning and during flashbacks inserted throughout the film. So when you hear someone say, "he carries the film", he LITERALLY carries the film from beginning to end.

There is no easy way to explain the parts of the film that I like and/or dislike without giving away too much. What I can say is that The Shelter is what I would call an interpretive film, meaning viewers will likely have differing opinions on what it's actually about. Fallon doesn't do any hand holding here. He lays out a story and leaves it to his audience to decide what is actually happening. At times, it can seem a little confusing and I can see some people needing to let it marinate for a while before forming an opinion. Undoubtedly, you will either love it or hate it. There is no in between. It's a slow burn that seems to go on for much longer than it's 75 minute run time but I suspect true fans of the psychological thrillers will enjoy it. It's a frighteningly beautiful tale that will leave you breathless.

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