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Take Shelter (2011)

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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.


Jeff Nichols


Jeff Nichols
4,574 ( 211)
42 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Shannon ... Curtis
Jessica Chastain ... Samantha
Tova Stewart ... Hannah
Shea Whigham ... Dewart
Katy Mixon ... Nat
Natasha Randall Natasha Randall ... Cammie
Ron Kennard Ron Kennard ... Russell
Scott Knisley Scott Knisley ... Lewis
Robert Longstreet ... Jim
Heather Caldwell ... Special Ed Teacher
Sheila Hullihen Sheila Hullihen ... Woman in Road
John Kloock John Kloock ... Man in Road
Marianna Alacchi ... Bargain Hunter
Jacque Jovic Jacque Jovic ... News Anchor
Bob Maines Bob Maines ... Walter Jacobs


Curtis, a father and husband, is starting to experience bad dreams and hallucinations. Assuming mental illness, he seeks medical help and counseling. However, fearing the worst, he starts building an elaborate and expensive storm shelter in their backyard. This storm shelter threatens to tear apart his family, threatens his sanity and his standing in the community, but he builds it to save his family's life. Written by napierslogs

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Far away from the cruel world. [Scandinavian DVD.]


Drama | Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »





Release Date:

10 November 2011 (Croatia) See more »

Also Known As:

Atormentado See more »

Filming Locations:

Oberlin, Ohio, USA See more »


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$52,041, 2 October 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,729,969, 18 March 2012

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,099,314, 7 August 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The insurance agency in this film that assists in getting the daughter's implant is a real agency with several locations in Ohio, where the movie was filmed. See more »


When Samantha is trying to sell a pillow to the woman in the market scene. Some extras can be seen from both sides of the market at the same time. See more »


[first lines]
Curtis: [to daughter] No, no, no. Don't feed the dog, darling.
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Featured in Maltin on Movies: This Means War (2012) See more »


Written & Performed by Ben Nichols
Copyright 2010 Empty Roard Music (ASCAP)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

18 April 2012 | by LaakbaarSee all my reviews

"Take Shelter" transports you to the world of Curtis and Samantha, a blue-collar couple with a deaf daughter. They live in rural Ohio. Curtis is an average, taciturn, down-to-earth man who supports his family by doing manual labour in the oil industry.

As the movie progresses, we see that Curtis is having frightening, unusually realistic dreams. These are not ordinary nightmares and they concern him greatly. He tries to cope with them as best as he can, but after a while he comes to realise they are a portent of some unknown disaster.

Curtis quietly does what he feels he needs to do to relieve his anxiety about this. Essentially, he starts getting ready for the disaster. Really ready. He can't hide all this for long though, so soon this problem overwhelms him and his family. His wife is shocked that he's spending money needed to help their deaf daughter.

Through it all we wonder how much Samantha can put up with. She's a no-nonsense woman, but she seems to love Curtis. And of course we wonder whether he's right. Is something big really going to happen? Or is it just a mental breakdown of some kind? (Like the one his mother had...) Most of us have, at one point or another, been vaguely anxious about what might happen in the future. But this movie takes us expertly to "dread", as if it were a place on the map. Something bad is going to happen. Dread is the opposite of hope really.

The sense of place and character development in this film are superb. The acting is also superb. The pace of the movie is slow, but that didn't bother me for some reason. Nor is there much plot development. Man has strange dreams. Man gets ready for the apocalypse. Family tries to cope. These themes reminded me of the madness of Richard Dreyfus in Close Encouters.

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