Julianne Moore headlines what feels like horror leftovers and is a misbegotten relative of swill like Case 39 which Renee Zellweger would like to omit from her resume.
A similarly in the can for a while Pittsburgh-based "Shelter" also stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jeffrey DeMunn and Frances Conroy.
Moore's Cara Harding is put to the test by her very experienced shrink of a dad (a rascally DeMunn) about multiple-personalities. Her skeptical psychiatrist gets a handful in Rhys-Meyers's mental patient Adam. Adam has the inexplicable knack of transforming into alter-egos like David, a teenager murdered a quarter of a century ago.
The tenuously scripted tale from Michael Cooney (Identity) pulls Cara into demonic mountain witches as it also is influenced a bit by reincarnation from dwindling of faith. It is in need of a leap of faith from many onlookers as Cara's affable brother (Nathan Corddry) and daughter (Brooklynn Proulx) come into Adam's wicked web.
Obviously, a mostly strait-laced Moore (effective as a lesbian mom in The Kids Are All Right) does her actorly all against the "devil's magic," especially when it comes to the jarring chameleon of a manic Rhys-Meyers (who's excelled on Cable's The Tudors). Viewers may have similar questions that Cara does with high anxiety fueled off of raw terror. Conroy's haunted mother, DeMunn, and Corddry give as much honest shadings to their characters to stay in line with the ominous atmosphere.
The filmmakers provide some slick, nightmarish visuals to try to offset the increasing absurdity with freaky variations on religion and science. What is straightforward (in execution) and controlled with limited segue ways could have been a darkly mesmerizing thriller. Yet, it inanely bobs from the supposed terror ironically being sheltered by the disorder it appears to so cleverly physically espouses.