One of the movies’ least convincing three-faces-of-Eve routines occupies centerstage in “6 Souls,” a schlock supernatural shocker that has finally escaped into a handful of U.S. theaters five years after it was shot and more than three after it first opened internationally. Cannily retitled (from the original “Shelter”) to ensure better placement in alphabetized VOD menus, this DOA pickup for Weinstein Co. sub-label Radius may scare up a few smallscreen curiosity seekers, owing to the presence of top-billed Julianne Moore, before taking its rightful place in the genre graveyard.
For a film that involves the stealing — and swallowing — of human souls, one wonders how much Moore was paid for hers when she agreed to star as a Pittsburgh forensic shrink whose latest patient (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) appears to suffer from multiple personality disorder. A skeptic who doesn’t believe in MPD, and an atheist to boot (generally bad news in movies like this), the good doctor sets out to create an alternate diagnosis, while Rhys Meyers cycles through a series of alter egos that would barely pass muster in a high-school drama club, including a paraplegic mama’s boy with Gomer Pyle drawl and a streetwise tough with Travis Bickle patois. Is this mystery patient possessed by the devil, or merely by the spirit of Stanislavski?
Michael Cooney’s script offers a thinly veiled gloss on his equally preposterous one for James Mangold’s “Identity” (2003), in which 10 strangers stranded in a motel were eventually revealed to all be figments of one deranged psycho’s imagination. Here, Swedish helmers Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein (who shot this before going on to direct “Underworld: Awakening”) seem little concerned by the gaping chasms in narrative logic, decking the film out in the requisite musty libraries, blind mountain women who “see” more than those of us with two good eyes, and lots of decorating tips borrowed from “Seven” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” Moore struggles to convince us there’s something important at stake here — but this, alas, lies beyond even her formidable actorly gifts.
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Reviewed online, New York, April 4, 2013 MPAA Rating: R Running time: 113 MIN.
A Radius/TWC release presented with NALA Films of a NALA Films-Macari/Edelstein Films production. Produced by Darlene Caamaño Loquet, Emilio Diez Barroso, Mike Macari, Neal Edelstein. Executive producers, Billy Rovzar, Alejandro Garcia. Co-producer, Bill Bannerman.
Directed by Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein. Screenplay, Michael Cooney. Camera (Technicolor), Linus Sandgren; editor, Steven Mirkovich; music, John Frizzell; production designer, Tim Galvin; art director, Jesse Rosenthal; set decorator, Rebecca Brown; costume designer, Luca Mosca; sound (DTS/SDDS/Dolby Digital), James M. Emswiller; supervising sound editor, Gregg Baxter; re-recording mixers, Gary Summers, Todd Orr; visual effects, Asylum, Pacific Title and Art Studio; assistant director, Steve Danton; casting, Diane Heery, Jason Loftus.