THE SHELTER, written and directed by John Fallon, and starring Michael Paré, is a beautifully shot atmospheric thriller.
Thomas (Paré) is a broken man, a man with a fidelity problem, and he's returned to his neck of the woods after a five year disappearance. He's looking worse for the wear, and his guilt is showing through the thin veneer of alcoholism he wears to prevent himself from dealing with his guilt. Seeking shelter from the night, he wanders into an almost too inviting abandoned home, practically seducing him to come in and take a load off. At first relieved for a safe place to feel normal for a moment, he soon notices something's not quite right. Thomas is in for a long night of facing his guilt, the possibility of redemption, and the reality of where his infidelity will take him.
The shelter takes Thomas in, at first seeming like a gift from a benevolent, forgiving creator; quickly little things begin to chink away at the facade, and we find ourselves wandering through the hell of Thomas' actions to discover just how he got to this point. Much like in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", we see Thomas' what could have been, but even that is marred by his inability to keep it in his pants...what the shelter giveth, the shelter must also taketh away, and it leaves you wondering just how many victims this purgatorial shelter has grasped.
Michael Paré does a great job, making you love him for the down & outer that he is, while simultaneously hating him for what his actions have wrought upon the people he claims to love. Paré is just as sympathetic here as he was as Eddie Wilson in "Eddie and the Crusiers". His acting here is top notch, something you don't come to expect from horror.
The film is beautifully done. John Fallon made excellent use of ethereal lighting to get his vision across. The use of bright lights against the darkened backdrop brings you in, a lot of it feels like the diffused lighting one encounters in a church under natural lighting through stained glass windows, I suspect that's not an accident. The story is overtly religious in its nature, and can leave you feeling a bit judged. That's not a bad thing, but it does give the film a very specific feel, that, as an atheist, does leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, but not enough to make me not like it.
Bottom line, see THE SHELTER. The story is well done, the acting makes the story come alive, and the film is a solid piece of work.
THE SHELTER will be available in select theaters and VOD on November 4.