Shelter [a.k.a. 6 Souls] (2010/2013)

Måns Mårlind & Björn Stein

Julianne Moore - Cara Harding-Jessup
Jonathan Rhys Meyers - David/ Adam/ Wesley
Jeffrey DeMunn - Dr. Harding
Frances Conroy - Mrs. Bernburg
Nathan Corddry - Stephen Harding
Brooklynn Prouix - Sammy Jessup

Genre: Horror/Thriller/Supernatural

Running Time: 112 Minutes

Dr. Cara Harding (Julianne Moore) is a respected psychologist who is dealing with the devastating loss of her husband, which has caused her to lose faith in many things. One of these things is the belief in the idea of a "multiple personality disorder" - something Cara believes is a fabrication of a guilty party who needs to justify his or her actions. Her father (Jeffrey DeMunn), also a psychologist, wants to prove Cara wrong by presenting the case of David Bernburg (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). David is a paralyzed young Southern man who seems quiet and shy, due to being raised in a God-fearing household. However when David receives a random phone call for Adam, he changes personalities quickly, becoming a more confident and confrontational character - who also happens can rise from a wheelchair and walk.

After a while, Cara starts to slowly believe that Adam is the body's "host" to create other personalities to protect itself from trauma. As she investigates the case further, however, Cara realizes that Adam's mental illness may be more supernatural than anyone could have possibly imagined.


6 SOULS, also known as SHELTER, is a weird film that does as much right as it does wrong. While the film contains some interesting and oddly memorable ideas, Michael Cooney [who wrote the two JACK FROST films - yes, the one with the rapey snowman - and 2003's underrated IDENTITY] has no idea how to keep them cohesive for a full length feature. Honestly, I was never sure what 6 SOULS wanted to be as a film. It starts out as a psychological thriller - and a good one at that - gripping you right from the start when it comes to the idea of whether multiple personality disorders truly exist or not from Cara's perspective. The first act works because you can tell Cooney did his homework, giving tension to the story as characters truly see random triggers transform a quiet young man into a dangerous, cocky bastard in a flick of a switch. Not only does it captivate you, but 6 SOULS [at this point] puts you in the eyes of a skeptic who slowly believes in this mental disorder, even if modern psychology sometimes tries to discredit it as "acting". You're invested in the mystery and what to know whether this David character is legit or not.

As the mystery unravels, however, 6 SOULS becomes a drag and feels derivative of other thrillers/horror films that came before it. Learning that David Bernburg is a real person that looks nothing like David is an interesting twist. But then we start to learn what's really going on, destroying this interest when we find out that 6 SOULS is really a film about body possession that becomes massively convoluted without much explanation as to why people are being possessed by certain souls to begin with. This just left me confused as to what I was watching - and why a perfectly fine thriller about a serial killer with a multiple-personality disorder turns into a formulaic supernatural film that leaves you with more questions than answers. 6 SOULS feels like two different films that don't work together, rather than complimenting each other. And don't even get me started on the dumb conclusion. Ugh.

Luckily, the technical stuff is pretty darn good. Mårlind and Stein, who would later direct UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING, do well in terms of visuals and pacing, even if the script is disjointed. They have a great sense of sound design to create a couple of jump scares that don't feel all that cheap. It's nothing spectacular or anything, but the direction keeps the film afloat when the story goes to sink it.

The acting is above average. Julianne Moore is decent as the skeptical Cara, although she can pretty much sleepwalk through this kind of role. Jeffrey DeMunn gets less to do, but is dependable as Cara's father. But Jonathan Rhys Meyers gets a ton of material to chew on as David and his other personalities. I thought he was very convincing as a man who suffered from multiple personalities, shifting mannerisms and accents with each one. Honestly, Meyers is the best part of 6 SOULS, making me sit through the entire thing.


6 SOULS is a mixed bag. It starts off strong, but limps towards the finish line with an unnecessarily convoluted storyline about soul possession, rather than sticking with a more interesting multiple personality disorder theme. But the visuals are quite good and the cast makes most of the material work well enough to keep you watching. 6 SOULS should have been worth the full monty, but it's only worth 3 souls at most.

2 Howls Outta 4

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