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Shelter review

Shelter
15certificate 15
Running time: 113 minutes
Starring: Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jeffrey DeMunn, Frances Conroy, Brooklynn Proulx
Rating 2 out of 10

An unconvincing horror/thriller that misses all of its marks, Shelter raises the following unfortunate questions: did anyone read the whole script from start to finish before it was made? If so, did they make any sense of it?

Written by Michael Cooney (the son of legendary British farce-master Ray Cooney), and wasting the considerable talents of Julianne Moore, Shelter purports to beguile the audience with a mixture of psychobabble and black magic. What it fails to do is connect on any level. Moore's psychologist has to solve the puzzle of a patient her psychology father cannot understand: he may be a schizo, he may be a murderer or he may be neither. Within ten minutes most viewers will have figured it out: they will be unaware of the tortuous route it will take to drag to its conclusion.

Such is the predictability of the script (hey - Moore's character has a young daughter! Will she possibly be put in danger in the final act?), that there are no surprises at all here. Characters are thinly painted (Moore's character in particular seems to have no real-world existence); minor characters appear only to be inevitably killed to add to the 'action'; and in one sequence which provided much mirth at the screening I attended, a computer sound wave is identified as a potential killer (yes, a computer sound wave).

In fact, the only use I can possibly think of for Shelter is as a lesson for aspiring screenwriters in what to avoid. It's so cliched and false that it is unsurprising to learn that it is still awaiting a release in the United States (despite being made in 2008), and the only horror it provokes will be the audience's sorry feeling as the gradually realise what they have paid for.

Paul Hurley

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