THE SHELTER [FrightFest 2015]

PrintE-mail Written by Doc Charlie Oughton

A middle-aged man in a hoody and not insignificant 5 o’clock shadow makes his way around a townscape that at once has burned out appearance of any long lived place, but at the same time the hazy, quasi-romantic quality of Edward Hopper’s café painting, Nighthawks. The man is Thomas (Michael Paré) and throughout this film we see him attempt to deal with the grief of losing the perfect American life owing to his own boneheaded stupidity. This is actor John Fallon’s directorial feature debut and while it has some issues with hokey tropes, its overall vision is audacious.

Paré is the heart of the film. We see him move from emotionless, dislocated sex scenes through to a state of bitter desperation so understated as to not be able to muster the Lucifer to light his smoke. Following a ruck up with a cheap woman (any woman), he ambles into a house for safety only to be trapped by the memories of what his life might have been. At his best, actor Paré maintains a quiet but furious desperation. He always has a gruff quality suggesting he’s come too far to suffer fools, but at the same time some clever lighting often highlights the lines that puncture that handsome face, making him seem utterly isolated, realising why he was unable to learn from his mistakes. The supporting actors are also reasonable, though it must be said in each instance that the film works best when underplayed and often with a little dry humour as some of the showier segments do feel a little forced.

The salvation or damnation of the film is that it tries to hit too many bases. At its heart it’s a psychodrama with some inventive uses of surrealist imagery that act to project the mental purgatory, complete with a lot of religious iconography, in which the drunk find himself. The neon lights become the power of Christ and his need to beg forgiveness jostles with memories that aren’t allowed to fade. He goes from grime into the outright sublime with a score that transcends its simplicity while the iconography and cinematography of the surrealist imagery allows the viewer to project their own emotions on to the sequences. Shawn Knippelberg and Bobby Holbrook deserve plaudits for the former and latter of these respectively. What are unfortunately misjudged, however, are the haunted house segments that periodically pop up. They are simply too overt to work in the context of a piece that is frankly more complex than cheap shots allow for and they often act to take the audience out of the narrative.

For all its anger and impressive visuals, The Shelter is a meditative piece about moving from confusion to the acceptance of something perhaps cannot be fully understood. Fallon’s piece is piercing as a disconcerting family dreamscape, if not always focused. With a little more clarity of purpose, his work may be extraordinary.

CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JOHN FALLON / STARRING: MICHAEL PARÉ, LAUREN ALEXANDRA, RACHEL G. WHITTLE, GAYLE JAMES / RELEASE DATE: TBC

 


Suggested Articles:
After making Marvel magic with Civil War, shattering expectations with The Jungle Book, delivering a
Written and directed by John Williams, The Slayers follows two cultists, Nigel and Job.  Accord
When it comes to cinema, it is always good to see a film that either blows away expectations or show
‘The one with the vampire girl’ may not be the best of the short stories from the V/H/S series,
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Movie Reviews

MOANA 03 December 2016

THE SLAYERS 02 December 2016

ARRIVAL 02 December 2016

SIREN 24 November 2016

CREEPY 22 November 2016

RWD 21 November 2016

ALLIED 19 November 2016

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM 18 November 2016

WOLF MOTHER 13 November 2016

CREEPY (CELLULOID SCREAMS FILM FESTIVAL) 12 November 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
...