Shut In Reviews
DVD Movie Review: Shut In
Date Viewed: March 20 2017
Directed By Farren Blackburn
Written By Christina Hodson
Starring: Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Jacob Tremblay, Charlie Heaton, David Cubitt, Clementine Poidatz, Crystal Balint, Alex Braunstein and Peter Outerbridge.
Oh Naomi Watts, please fire your agent. "Shut In" is one of those rare horror thrillers that manages to have no scares at all. I mean that literally, there is nothing creepy and frightening about it. I'm all in for a hokey and cheesy B-horror movie with a nutty premise and laughably awful performances but "Shut In" has none of those things. Even though it's set in rural New England, most of the movie was shot in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec. Hey! That's the area where I live!
Why can't Hollywood shoot more movies in the Eastern Townships, it's a quiet region with small towns and beautiful forests but unfortunately, Hollywood's CGI green-screen addiction is taking over the industry so I don't think any big celebrities will come to the region any time soon. The mystery in "Shut In" is completely idiotic and unbelievable and the jump scare cliches are all over the place. From raccoons to a mysterious somebody grabbing another somebody's body parts and to the creaky door sounds, "Shut In" has every horror cliche you can think of. I admire any movie for shooting in the Eastern Townships region but not when it's a terrible horror movie starring a very talented actress who should know better.
Watts plays Mary Portman, a widowed child psychologist who gets stuck taking care of her teenage stepson, Steven Portman (Charlie Heaton, from "Stranger Things") who's currently in a permanent vegetative state unable to move or walk. Steven wasn't always like this, he used to be a teenage adolescent who would always get into trouble. When he got expelled from school, Steven was forced to relocate to a new school with his father, Richard Portman (Peter Outerbridge) but the both of them got into a major car accident which resulted in Richard's death and Steven's paralyzed state.
Finding herself isolated at home with her step-son, Mary finds that someone maybe in her house but she doesn't know what or whom is? There's also subplots involving Mary trying to rescue one of her child patients, Tom Patterson (Jacob Tremblay, from "Room") who has gone missing for quite a few days and Mary possibly trying to hit it off with the father of one of her teenage patients, Doug Hart (David Cubitt) but these storylines don't go anywhere.
This is a major spoiler alert but you probably won't care since this movie was a box office flop, the mysterious presence in Mary's house turns out to be Steven who was faking his vegetative state the whole time. Steven wants to really remain close to her stepmother in an affectionate and creepy way and he wants the Patterson kid dead because he wants him shut out of his mother's life. The climax of the movie takes place during a nasty winter storm because of course in all horror movies like this they always have nasty weather at night so that the filmmakers can build unruly tension. This cliched gimmick is old, cheap and suspense-free and I wish that all the horror masters out there would stop doing it.
Oh yeah, there's also Oliver Platt as a fellow psychologist and friend of Mary's but he is hopelessly lost here. Why is this movie short on scares? That's the real mystery in "Shut In". Maybe director Farren Blackburn and screenwriter Christina Hodson are allergic to them. That's a likely probable cause. Jacob Tremblay who was so terrifically good in "Room" is completely wasted here as the young boy who gets taken under Mary Portman's care. Naomi Watts does the best she can here but this sorry excuse for a horror movie was probably a way for her to make a house payment or something.
"Shut In" is completely inept and claustrophobically stupid all around. I hope Watts doesn't end up driving the same low-rent/VOD-lane that has led to the destruction of Nicolas Cage and Bruce Willis' careers.
There was a couple of jump scares and the basement scenes that helped to drive up the tension. There was a bit more of a horror aspect towards the end of the movie, which was done well. And I did like that most of the movie was light enough that you could actually see what was going on.
Now as for what I didn't like about it, as well as what I think would have been a better ending (courtesy of my step-dad's imagination).
Major Spoilers Ahead, so stop reading if you don't want to know what happens.
As soon as the little boy got lost, I immediately called that he was alive and living in her walls. The part that I couldn't figure out was why. I figured he had a good relationship with Mary that he would have came right to her instead of hiding.
Then as soon as she started tripping and having weird dreams, I knew her stepson was able to move around and drug her. This may not have been as apparent to a lot of people, so I can let that slide. And it also explains why Tom hides in the walls, because Stephen doesn't want him there and is trying to find him quietly so Mary doesn't know he can walk around.
The part that really got me was how all of a sudden (at least to the audience), Stephen was obsessed with Mary. They could have somehow showed it earlier before the accident, and I think that would have increased the creep factor.
How it should have ended would be having Stephen kill everyone, and then get back into bed and continue to act like he was still paralyzed. It would have given it a Primal Fear vibe, which would have been awesome.
1) Isolated house miles from anywhere, check...
2) Woman trapped with a nutter having to protect a child, check...
3) Nutter with axe, check....
4) Nutter smashing through door with axe while woman screams, check...
5) Friend drives in blizzard to save woman and is attacked by nutter when he arrives at house, check...(sharp implement through chest.)
6) Woman makes tracks in snow and walks backwards through them to throw off nutter, check...
7) Woman feeds child through small opening to escape nutter, check...
It is pathetic really how these films even get made when I sure there are really talented people writing really clever stories. Anyway, I ended up fast forwarding through the last half hour and I didn't miss anything important, that's how crap it was.