Director Jeff Nichols’ great new film Take Shelter  is a psychological thriller that stars Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) as Curtis, a middle-class dad suddenly plagued by dreams  of strangers taking his daughters and visions of a coming apocalypse. Are they hallucinations? Has he inherited his mother’s schizophrenia? In either case, Take Shelter has its fair share of scary moments, something The DLB asked Nichols during a recent interview at TIFF.

Take Shelter almost seemed almost like a horror film. Did you have that in the back of your head in any way?

Kind of at the front of my head. From the beginning I wanted to make a genre art film. I don’t know if I specifically said a psychological thriller but I knew I wanted there to be frightening moments because I had these basic notions of a guy having visions of a giant storm and people attacking him, and other things. I knew I wanted some frightening moments.

But then of course once I started getting into the story, it kind of goes on its own path and I really start to focus on character, and I guess that’s where the art-house part comes in.

Take Shelter opens in Toronto and Vancouver Oct. 21.

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