Shelley (2016) Movie Review

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2016 | Horror, Drama
92 minutes /

User Score: 60/100

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Shelley Review


Louise and Kasper want to become parents but Louise is unable to have children. She seals a pact with her Romanian maid, Elena, to bear Louise's child, but things don't turn out as they planned.

Shelley (2016) is a 1h 32-min Danish drama horror film that was shot in Copenhagen, Denmark. First-time full-length director and co-writer Ali Abbasi (M for Markus (2011), Border (2017)) excelled in executing his first full-length film, and I cannot wait to see what else he has to offer us because this was an exquisite treat. I have to admit that Rosemary’s Baby (2014) and The Omen (2006) came to my mind while watching Shelly because of some resemblance but what movie is one hundred percent unique today.

Shelley revolves around Elena who is not at all wealthy taking a job that leads her to an opportunity that will give her and her son a better life and accepts that opportunity only to regret it later. Elena (Cosmina Stratan - Beyond the Hills (2012), Les territoires du silence (2015), Ramai cu mine (2013-2014)) is a young educated female but has no choice but to become a housekeeper/nurse. Elena’s son father does not help her with their son in any way and accepts the position of becoming Louise (Ellen Dorrit Petersen - Blind (2014), Troubled Water (2008), King of Devil’s Island (2010)) and Kasper’s housekeeper and nurse. Louise and Kasper (Peter Christoffersen - The Absent One (2014), Bolette the Beauty (2011), Mellem træerne (2008), A Family (2010)) are childless because they cannot have a child and lives in the Danish countryside where they have no electricity or running water.

Louise recently underwent surgery and Elena have to take care of her which was challenging with the situation, but she did it because she needs the money. It did not take long for Louise and Elena to form a friendship where Louise tells Elena that she cannot have children. Elena agrees to become their surrogate mother with a reward of the couple giving her a significant amount of money. Elena plans on getting a new apartment where her son will have his own room (he would not have to live with her parents), and they will have a decent lifestyle. Elena started to having nightmares as her body changes during the pregnancy. She soon believes that the baby is not an average human baby, but Louise tries to comfort her as everything goes wrong/south. Elena could not be more paranoid as the behavior of everyone around her changes.

I applaud Cosmina Stratan for doing such an excellent job playing pregnant Elena as all of her expressions was outstanding as we see Elena deteriorate. The makeup department needs recognition also because the make-up job was remarkable, especially the bathtub scene where we see Elena pregnant belly that looks so realistic, maybe it was real. With all said, I could not get over how slow this film was and only wish it had moved at a faster pace with at least a few jump scares and a little suspense would have been a nice touch to the movie. Shelley is a sad emotional movie with uncertainty. The movie was subjective leaving open ended answers to questions we may have because there was a lot that was left unanswered about how and why.

About Shelley 2016

Title: Shelley
Year: 2016
Runtime: 92 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Horror, Drama
Score: 3 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 3/5 stars from 10 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 10
Starring: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Cosmina Stratan, Björn Andrésen, Marlon Kindberg Bach, Kenneth M. Christensen, Peter Christoffersen, Marianne Mortensen, Patricia Schumann
Writers: Ali Abbasi, Maren Louise Käehne
Director: Ali Abbasi