Take Shelter (2011)

Take Shelter

Take Shelter is the second movie from acclaimed director, Jeff Nichols, who has started to make a pretty thunderous dark clouds name for himself having gone on to write and direct Mud and Midnight Special. It’s a psychological thriller of sorts, but with elements of sci-fi and horror, which pitches in a dramatic, but low-key story that builds the tension behind the film.

Release date

Take Shelter arrived at the big screen on the 30th September 2011 in the US, before getting its UK release date in mid October of the same year. It was subsequently released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download in the UK on the 19th March 2012, following on from the earlier release in the UK on the 14th February 2012.


Construction worker Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) begins to see visions of semi-apocalyptic doom and attacks on his small family in his dreams, along with freaky hallucinations which sparks a deep seated fear in him. As a result, he sets himself and his family on a cause to build a costly storm shelter at the bottom of the garden for an impending devastation. However, the plot unfolds with a wavering reality as the shadow of paranoid schizophrenia pits itself against prophetic visions for the sum culmination of the film.

Take Shelter is set for release in mid October and will give a prosaic slant on the commonality of fear and the irrationality that it can all too easily stir. Directed and written by Jeff Nichols it’s got more than a flash of Oscar nomination potential.


Michael Shannon (Midnight Special) is joined by the incredibly talented Jessica Chastain (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) as his wife Samantha, who has to deal with the rising tension of her husband’s increasingly erratic behaviour. Katy Mixon (Eastbound & Down) plays Samantha’s friend Nat and Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire) plays Curtis’ work buddy Dewart. Kathy Baker (Edward Scissorhands) puts in a short, but impressive turn in as Sarah, Curtis’ mother, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when she was around his age.


The trailer for Take Shelter gave you goosebumps almost instantly and the film itself goes one better with serious tension. It’s not scary in an afraid of the Slender Man kind of way, but it’s scary because of the implications of the vision plagued story. Psychological to the point of becoming a pulsating broken mind in itself, it was one of the best movies of 2011.

Subtle special effects and the burgeoning paranoia of Curtis make Take Shelter genuinely attention grabbing and it all comes together for an incredible culmination. Set in the heart of American storm country, the film is a dark and brooding cloud from start to end.

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