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:: Take Shelter

Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself. And so begins ‘Take Shelter’ in a very interesting take on mental health, visions, premonitions and more. Take Shelter follows Curtis LaForche, a working class husband and father, as he deals with the panic that arises from a series of terrifying dreams.

For Curtis, these dreams are either visions into the future of a supernatural storm, or early symptoms of something he’s feared his entire life. Curtis’ first reaction is to protect his family, his wife Samantha and their six-year-old daughter Hannah. The question for Curtis becomes, what is he protecting them from, the storm or himself?

He lives with his wife and their six-year-old daughter Hannah, who is deaf. He makes a humble living working for a sand-mining company, while Samantha is a stay-at-home mother supplementing their income by selling handmade wares at a flea market each weekend. Money is extremely tight - the GFC is mentioned throughout, so it feels very now - and navigating Hannah’s healthcare and special needs is a constant struggle. Despite this, he and Samantha are very much in love and their family is a happy one.

Then Curtis begins having terrifying dreams about an encroaching, apocalyptic storm. At first he chooses to keep the disturbance to himself, channeling his anxiety into the obsessive building of a storm shelter in their backyard. But then his seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns Samantha, co-workers and friends as it begins to impair his judgement. The resulting strain to his marriage and tension within the community doesn’t compare to Curtis’ private fear of what his dreams may truly signify. Is he seeing into the future or is he becoming insane, going crazy before everyone he loves?

This is a striking and thought-provoking film. On one hand, there is a ‘realistic’ story about a man and his family, their ordinary lives at home, the man and his work and his prospects. On the other, there is far more, as the film goes into Curtis’s mind, his imagination, his dreams as he discovers mental torment and premonitions about an apocalyptic threat. Before I walked into this film, I was expecting a doomsday, Earth will come to an end type of film. What I got instead was a great look into how fragile a mind can be as one man battles himself between what he believes is real and what we think isn’t.

‘Take Shelter’ is a fantastic genre mix of thriller, drama and supernatural horror propelled by a great lead performance with a very believable script and story. There is no doubt this film will appeal to many viewers for a whole lot of reasons. It has all the elements needed to make it a box office success.