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Julianne Moore in Shelter

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

JULIANNE Moore has appeared in some stinkers in her time (Freedomland, The Forgotten) but new supernatural thriller Shelter has to rate among her biggest.

To be fair, you can often see what might have appealed to the gifted actress in some of the material she has taken on, and she always gives a committed performance. But so often, the films fail to match her best efforts.

Shelter is another of those films that boasts an intriguing concept and a great set-up.

Moore plays forensic psychiatrist Dr Cara Jessup, ‘a doctor of science and a woman of God’, who refuses to believe in multiple personality disorders and has the power to send convicted killers to their graves based on her evidence.

When her father introduces her to new patient Adam (Jonathan Rhys Myers), Cara becomes immediately intrigued given that Adam presents the most compelling evidence yet for suffering from multiple personalities.

As she gets drawn deeper into his fractured mental state, however, she comes to question her faith in both science and, ultimately, religion… thrusting her into a race against time to protect the people she loves.

Co-directed by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein, Shelter genuinely unsettles for its first hour or so, as the to and fro between Cara and Adam assumes a creepy psychological feel.

But once the mystery unravels and becomes linked to devil worshipping mountain gypsies and early 20th Century depravity, the film begins to lose its grip and becomes just plain silly.

Moore’s central character also becomes increasingly prone to the type of damsel-in-distress stupidity that blights so many modern horror films (why go anywhere alone?), while supporting characters exist to become murdered in gruesome fashion or possessed in some way.

Come the final revelations and the supposedly jaw-dropping conclusion, viewers will be too bored and uninterested to care… meaning that the good early groundwork laid by both Moore and Rhys Myers has gone completely to waste.

The end result is yet another horror movie that struggles to justify its existence.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 112mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: August 2, 2010