Shelter, The. John Fallon Supernatural and Religious Overtones
Shelter, The Film Review
Director: John Fallon
Writer: John Fallon
Release Format: Streaming
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Running Time: 1 hour, 16 minutes
On a star filled night, widower and homeless man Thomas (Michael Pare) finds shelter for the night when he falls upon a vast two story house with the lights on and an inviting open front door.
Alas the next morning he finds out swiftly that the premises won’t let him depart. The doors are all locked, and the windows puzzlingly cannot be opened or broken. Destiny has brought Thomas to this place. Will he survive the ordeal?
John Fallon strikes chords with The Shelter, which is familiar, but intriguing to say the least. The Drama, Horror, Thriller has religious and biblical undertones. The film focuses on the protagonist Thomas, a now widowed, homeless squatter.
However, he was not always down on his luck. When his life was at an all-time high, Thomas was a man who had it all: wealth, family, comfort, and happiness.
With interweaving flashbacks scattered throughout the film, the beginning of Thomas’ downfall looks to be when his wife suspected him of infidelity.
A confusing flashback of his pregnant wife having complications in the hospital poses some questions and uncertainty, as the film takes a place in time when his daughter is in her adolescent stage of life, but this scene, in particular, raises questions if his daughter was ever born, or if the wife lost the baby due to complications. Also, it raises the question if the wife also passed away along with the baby.
In any case, after Thomas lost his wife and daughter, he lost himself. Wandering around without a destination in mind, Thomas stumbles upon a house that seems inviting. He takes refuge inside, only to find that the house hides supernatural capabilities.
He is forced to confront his past, reap his actions, and confess his sins. The house sends him down a psychological nightmare that tempts and tests his sanity.
The premise: a man trapped in a house that’s actually haunted, but not the traditional haunt, as in spirits or ghosts. It’s more of a supernatural haunt, as in things happening that you can’t explain. Battling with your mind and your sanity.
Your demons versus the house’s demons. This concept alone is a great concept that works in The Shelter’s favor.
The flashbacks scattered throughout the film are a very nice touch, as flashbacks not only give more in-depth analysis to the backstory but also serves as a dramatic cinematic experience.
The Shelter, as successful as it is, is definitely familiar. I think the Supernatural circuit, in general, has been done some much that the films start to coincide with each other, and they all begin to look familiar, so there’s not much originality in this genre going forward.
On top of that, there are a lot of bland moments in the film, and it lags excitement and intensity. Being a film of this nature, you’d expect there to be a decent amount of intense, dramatic moments or a few jump scares, but the film wanders with blandness. There is exception of a few prime moments, which comes more-so towards the middle to the end of the film.
The Shelter starts off pretty slow with peak moments in the flashback scenes that sparks temporary interest. But the “action” doesn’t kick off until after 30 to 40 minutes into the film.
Religious, supernatural movies will always hold a place in cinema, no matter how familiar each movie looks because it’s been done countless times. The supernatural circuit will always spark an interest with the audience, as they generally pump up the adrenaline with intensity and jump scares.
This is also something that The Shelter lacks, replacing these two key features with blandness and boredom for the first near-half of the film. On the other hand, there’s a sense of repentance within the film. It leaves a lot to question.
The only way Thomas can be “free” from the house is to confess his sins, therefore, freeing himself mentally. This is a psychological scare, as in the end, you wonder, will Thomas ever really escape? Even after he repents. Or is he forever prisoner to the house?Rating Score: 0-10 Avoid | 11-20 Mediocre | 21-30 Good | 31-40 Average | 41-50 Satisfactory | 51-60 Stunning | 61-70 Terrific | 71-80 Must See | 81-90 Amazing | 91-100 Impressive