“Harlan Coben’s Shelter is a riveting mystery thriller series that is full of surprises. It has the right balance between exploring its characters giving them their own storyline and uncovering the mystery of their missing friend.”
Harlan Coben’s Shelter is a thriller series based on the book of the same name by Harlan Coben. The eight-episode series premieres today with three episodes on Prime Video. New episodes will be available each Friday, leading up to the season finale on 22nd September.
Harlan Coben’s Shelter follows the story of Mickey Bolitar (Jaden Michael). After the sudden death of his father (Kristoffer Polaha) in a car accident, he starts a new life in Kasselton, New Jersey with his aunt Shira (Constance Zimmer). He befriends a new student at his school, Ashley Kent (Samantha Bugliaro) who mysteriously goes missing. With the help of his new friends Spoon (Adrian Greensmith) and Ema (Abby Corrigan), Mickey tries to find her. This leads them to uncovering secrets about the quiet town of Kasselton.
Although, it may seem like just another teen drama in the likes of Riverdale, it is absolutely not that. If you love a good mystery thriller, this series will be for you. It is actually a riveting series. The ominous opening scene sets the tone for the series. Indeed, the mystery is bigger than just Ashley’s disappearance, it’s decades long secrets. This involves another disappearance that happened in the past, a strange old woman living in a creepy house… The first episode reveals a lot laying the groundwork for what is coming. You have a lot of information in hands but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Then, by the end of the third episode, things start connecting together while still raising more questions.
Little by little, the answers come as Mickey and his group of friends uncover the truth. It’s an eight-episode series so it takes its time to reveal everything. It doesn’t rush its plot. Up until the last episode, there are still answers coming. It keeps the audience entertained. Undoubtedly, there is a good amount of plot twists and not everything is as it seems.
Moreover, there’s more than just the mystery. It’s also a nice story about friendship between Mickey, Spoon and Ema. There’s also a subtle dash of romance. Even though, the stakes are important, the main characters are still teenagers and they do need to live their life. On top of that, the adult characters also face their own struggles. Indeed, Shira is not just there to play the parenting figure for Mickey, she has her storyline that takes her on her own journey. Each character has a storyline of its own. The series takes the time to develop its characters and explore them. Beyond the captivating mystery, I think you get invested in this series because of the characters too. I think this series finds the right balance to incorporate dramatic elements into the story with the characters following their own storylines and trying to live their life while having the main story be about this mystery.
Furthermore, this series gathers a good cast. Jaden shines as the lead. He delivers an earnest performance and so are his two co-stars Adrian and Ema. Kristoffer Polaha plays a caring father if only for a moment. Though, I was most excited to see Constance Zimmer in this series. I loved her work in House of Cards so I’m happy to see her in another series. She plays a very different character, just as good.
VISUALS AND SOUNDTRACK
A calm American town where nothing happens is actually at the center of dark secrets. Add to that a creepy old house and you have the perfect setting for a mystery thriller. It really helps creating an ominous atmosphere for the series.
Shelter uses a mix of songs that don’t always fit right with the scenes. I especially think of the ending of the first episode. The song used tries to create a big dramatic effect but it doesn’t work. I think they should have used Hannah Parrott’s score instead for this scene. Parrott delivers a tensed music score that fits with atmosphere of the series.
Harlan Coben’s Shelter is a riveting mystery thriller series that is full of surprises. It has the right balance between exploring its characters giving them their own storyline and uncovering the mystery of their missing friend.
Harlan Coben’s Shelter premieres today on Prime Video.
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