Directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein must have loved the 2003 film 'Identity', because this video-on-demand release, formally titled 'Shelter' is very similar in more ways than one. Now called '6 Souls', this mixed bag is constantly trying to figure what type of movie it wants to be. Whether it wants to have the label as a horror movie, a drama, or a suspense mystery, '6 Souls' never allows itself to focus on one particular story. And the unfortunate thing here is that it has a stellar cast. But they can only do so much with what was given.
This is a jumbled mess of a film that is always trying to outsmart its audience with more bizarre twists and turns that never make any sense. And when these surprises pop up at every corner, it is always something we could see coming miles away, leaving us to sit through 112 minutes of confusing plots and characters. It's no shock that '6 Souls' quietly skipped out on a theatrical release, even with its amazing cast.
We center on a psychiatrist named Cara Harding (Julianne Moore) who is notified by her father Dr. Harding (Jeffrey DeMunn), that she should see a patient of his to see if she can help. She agrees to meet the new patient who goes by David (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). David is confined to a wheelchair. After a few tests that give normal results, Cara's father calls her in the middle of their session and asks for Adam. David then convulses in his chair and becomes Adam, who is now colorblind and able to stand up straight.
Harding is now convinced that David is making these personalities up as he goes along, but after a bit of research and a few more personalities show their ugly heads, she realizes that these personalities are of dead people. She comes across the real David's mother (Frances Conroy), who gives her cryptic messages and tries to help her solve some of the mysteries surround their deaths and why her patient is acting as a "shelter" to all of these souls.
Harding travels to several locations in search of clues and even comes across "faith healers" and beings called "Grannys" who take people's souls. The climactic twists fall short and are always unsatisfying. The only solid aspect of this film is the acting from Moore, Meyers, and Conroy. I'm sure if they would have seen the final product of this film ahead of time, they would have never said "yes" to this movie. The directors are going for shock value here in trying to surprise you any way they can. But in doing so, they forego logic with an incohesive script that ultimately implodes on itself. Sure, there are a few cheap scares here and there, but that doesn't constitute a decent horror film.
'6 Souls' has run-of-the-mill 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The detail here on closeups look sharp and well defined, but when we switch to wider shots, especially the interior ones that are not well lit, things get a bit soft. Colors also seem a bit muted for the most part, and do not offer a lot of vibrant colors, even in the exterior city shots.
The best looking aspects of the image seem to be closeups and when Harding is on the rural farm. Flesh tones though look natural and smooth, however the black levels have a good amount of crush in the dimmer looking scenes, which takes away a little bit from the viewing experience. There is some light video noise from time to time, but no evidence of banding or other compression issues. This video presentation could have been a bit better.
This release comes with a nice lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand with no evidence of cracks or hissing. While the film is trying to be a suspenseful horror film, there are plenty of loud crescendos and vibrating bass moments that pour out of the surrounds and sub woofer.
The ambient noises and sound effects are used often and flow from the surrounds flawlessly with good directionality. The score by John Frizzell does its best to add to the tension and emotion of each twist and turn as well. This audio track is nothing to write home about, but it does the job and is far better than its video counterpart.
There are no extras on this disc.
Even with a stellar cast, including Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Frances Conroy, this movie just cannot be saved. Keeping this on a shelf for the last three years was a good idea, it should have been left there indefinitely. The script and execution of the production ultimately killed this, as the filmmakers only wanted to shock us with surprises rather than entertain us. The video is sub-par with no extras. You can skip this one and never look back.