6 Souls (aka Shelter) Review

6 SOULS reviewYear: 2010, rereleased in 2013

Director: Måns Mårlind + Björn Stein

Starring: Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jeffrey DeMunn

Summary: (from IMDb) A female forensic psychiatrist discovers that all of one of her patient’s multiple personalities are murder victims. She will have to find out what’s happening before her time is finished.

Neoli’s Review: Don’t mind the critics.  6 Souls, starring the always compelling Julianne Moore and the surprisingly chameleonic Jonathan Rhys Meyers, isn’t that bad a suspense slash horror film.  Actually, it’s pretty good.

The first thing you have to know about 6 Souls is that this film dates as far back as three years ago (2010), in which time it was still called Shelter.  Yes, three years.  Which is a long time—a lot can happen in that span; civilizations may rise and fall, technologies may come and go.  And the sad thing is that, back then, critics didn’t like Shelter at all, so the solution was to simply shelve the film.

I think the critics were looking for nonstop gore and senseless slaughter, which Shelter/6 Souls does not offer at all.  What 6 Souls does offer however is a quiet descent into the unknown.

Here, newly widowed Dr. Cara Harding (Julianne Moore) is a forensic psychiatrist whose job is to debunk insanity defenses.  She gets whisked away from the courtroom because her father (Jeffrey DeMunn), also a psychiatrist, wants her to look in on a patient of his—the dashing, mustached David (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who turns out to have multiple personality disorder.  And it’s not just a simple case of dual-personality; in the course of the film, David’s various personas appear one by one—which, incidentally, are dead victims of previous crimes.

If 6 Souls reminds you of an episode of The X-Files, it’s because there’s that pervading X-Filean sense of dread and disaster which slowly builds up as Dr. Harding investigates a la Agent Scully—she personally drives to the various crucial locations, boldly goes unaccompanied inside abandoned houses, interviews the pertinent people, and even lifts shower curtains off corpses.

Dr. Harding even wears a crucifix necklace just like Agent Scully.  Eventually, David’s multiple personality turns out to be connected to the occult and witchcraft, with a little bit of historical influenza thrown in which started it all—a sharp, unexpected turn of events which turned off the critics.

But not all stories have to be squeaky tight to explain away everything satisfyingly.  Just like Dr. Harding’s dilemma in the film—and Agent Scully’s too: Deny faith or Believe in science and vice versa, 6 Souls also asks its viewers to make a leap of faith in the events unfolding before them.

And just like with every X-Files episode, the violence in 6 Souls is never explicit and graphic, just enough to make your mind do the rest of the imagining.  Watch 6 Souls for Julianne Moore and Jonathan Rhys Myers’ beautiful performances.  And also for the grim, irreversible twist in the ending.

Neoli’s Rating: 7/10