Low expectations are a wonderfully freeing thing. If you go into a movie expecting utter life-draining puss then the only moments that surprise you are the good parts. And if they don't come, well you can go home with a glorious sense of self-satisfaction, and if not well the world of movies can be a wondrously unpredictable place.
But not this time. Because Shelter became the kind of aimless, pointless dross that like countless others before it, exists to be the succubus to your movie going experience. It takes away your time and money and gives you jack all in return. To be fair I don't know what I was expecting. I new exactly what kind of film this was going to be before the first frame rolled. Was it the cast? probably. Any film with Julianne Moore in it is something I'm going to see, and for some reason all the way through Shelter, I kept thinking well Julianne Moore is in it, something logical must explain her presence here. There's going to be a mind-blowing twist to leave the predominance of my brain scattered between the back four rows. You know, because my mind would be blown. But no. Moore basically plays the same role Renee Zellweger did in Case 39, an overly concerned medical professional. She's not bad or anything, but its an empty role. But Moore has given enough great performances and been in enough great films for her to be forgiven many more missteps then this, she was Amber Waves for fuck's sake.
No if anyone was going to save this movie, it was going to be Henry VIII himself, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I've heard many of my film student contemporaries describe Meyers as a bad actor, but I don't think that's quite the case. I think he's more inconsistent, capable of some good work, but capable of some mind-numbing ( in keeping with my brain metaphor motif) appallingness also. Like Mark Wahlberg. And here he gets to play basically a supernatural version of John Lithgow's character in Raising Cain. Multiple personality may be an idea overused to the point of death, but Rhys Meyers treats this film like an audition tape, demonstrating his shy southern boy, obnoxious New Yorker, angry heavy metal musician, 8 year old girl, and 60 something doctor. And to be sure, he hit some better then others, but I enjoyed him a hell of a lot more then anything else in this movie. Fair play too to Frances Conroy and Nate Corrdry, who both give good performances with limited screentime.
A fairly bog-standard supernatural thriller, saved by a full-throttle, full marks for trying performance by Rhys Meyers. The movie veered close into 5/10 territory with a surprisingly dark ending, involving Moore having to kill her daughter in the form of Rhys Meyers, but then it chickened out. C'est La Vie. Enjoy widespread critical disdain assholes.