This is a movie about fearing the end of the world. It’s more about anxiety than the apocalypse. Whatever metaphors are contained in the script, the sense of impending doom is palpable, and unsettling. The whole film plays like a bad dream, where hidden meaning is secondary to throat-sucking dread. All horror films are about the same thing, but they let you off when the nightmare takes shape. In Take Shelter, fear is amorphous. We don’t know if the worst is real, or inside a man’s head. And that uncertainty is the conceit. Worry drives you mad. But worry warns you of danger too. It paralyses you even as it prompts you to act. That’s why the gift of prophesy is so alluring. Once you’re certain, you don’t feel angst.
This movie is not “a point-blank buckshot blast of American rage”. So why say it? Why is it we lambaste hyperbole in patently paid-for big budget movie reviews, but overlook the same hyperbole when it’s applied to low budget crap? Yes, yes – low budget movies need good reviews if they’re to find an audience. I’m fine with that. But movies like Shotgun Stories are not good; they’re just low budget. And saying Shotgun Stories is “a high calibre thriller that’s an explosive debut” is bullshit. This is a movie where if you took the word “yeah” out of the script and forbid the cast to look at things meaningfully… NOTHING WOULD F—ING HAPPEN.