Remember when Julianne Moore stepped into Jodie Foster’s shoes to play FBI criminologist Clarice Starling in the underrated Silence of the Lambs sequel, Hannibal? Well, the A Single Man actress is back in familiar territory in the taunt edge-of-your-seat thriller Shelter.
This time round, Moore plays Dr Cara Jessup, a psychiatrist who specialises in identifying criminals who fake multiple personality disorders in a bid to escape justice. But when Cara’s doctor father (Jeffrey De Munn) introduces her to his latest patient, Adam (The Tudors’ star Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Cara is soon forced to re-evaluate her ideals.
It seems that Adam has the ability to absorb the identity of the recently departed, and some malevolent force could be the reason. Before you can reach the phone to call in the Ghostbusters or the Most Haunted team, Cara is soon up to her neck in a bona-fide possession case with links to a group of Satan-worshipping mountain witches.
Written by the same guy who did 2003’s Agatha Christie-inspired Identity, Shelter is Sybil meets Silence of Lambs with a dash of Race with the Devil and Japanese horror scare-tactics throw in for good measure. With her cool charm, Moore effortless carries the film as the psych whose determination not to be proven wrong actually proves her undoing. Rhys Meyers, meanwhile, seems an odd choice for multiple roles he has to play (he just looks angry when he tries to act all sinister).
Despite the mixed reviews Shelter received on its original, limited release, this supernatural horror has the kind of old-school spooky scares that still excites. An engaging script, nicely paced action, moody camerawork, and some great little cameos (especially from the always brilliant Frances Conroy as the grieving Mrs Bernburg) makes this creepfest one to set aside for Halloween.