Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Movie Review: SHUT IN (2016) Starring Naomi Watts


Director: Farren Blackburn
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Starring: Naomi Watts, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, Oliver Platt, Clémentine Poidatz
Runtime: 91 min
Rating: PG-13 for terror and some violence/bloody images, nudity, thematic elements and brief strong language
Purchasing Links: DVD, Blu-ray

Read the review after the jump.


Review by Popa Razvan

It always saddens me to see good actors involved in projects so terrible that you watch and wonder why would they ever agree to star in something this bad. It's probably because they need to keep the money flowing. Or, perhaps they see genuine promise in the scripts. After all, the final product is ultimately out of their hands. All they have to do is act the best they can. "Shut In" is another unfortunate example of a completely disposable potboiler.

Shut In Image 1

Naomi Watts stars as Mary, a child psychologist who lives in an isolated corner of New England where she practices her profession and cares for her son, Steven (Charlie Heaton), who is in a permanent vegetative state as a result of a car accident that claimed the life of her husband. When one of her young patients, played by Jacob Tremblay ("Room") disappears after breaking into her house and is presumed dead, strange things begin to occur that begin to challenge Mary's grasp on reality.

The plot is pretty simple, as is the film's concept of psychological tension. Whatever suspense could have been squeezed out of the whole situation is wasted on poorly conceived jump scares. Worst of all, the whole film hinges on a predictable twist that I foresaw since the first moments, and it's not even played out properly. Its predictability wasn't exactly the problem. I love the anticipation of a twist, the build up. A good twist should make a strong impression even if you already know what's coming. That means the filmmakers have to make damn sure that enough tension has been mounted up to that point, so the reveal is a cathartic moment that explodes on screen. Nothing of that sort happens here.

Shut In Image 2

Watts puts on a good show as a woman trapped in a tortured existence, but the character is never really explored enough to be convincing as she descends into madness. Mary doesn't even react with enough common sense to qualify as a competent child psychologist. She must be terrible at her job if the one important notion of psychology that could save her life towards the end has to be provided by another character, who in turn meets a gruesome fate, as is mandatory when people come visiting to lend a hand in movies like this. It's just one of the many examples of how unoriginal the script is. And don't expect Tremblay to be the movie's saving grace, because unlike his strong performance in "Room", he doesn't even get any lines here and he's barely in it.

The film feels like a shallow clone of one of those low-budget Blumhouse horror films that the filmmakers somehow believed would be just as successful without actually putting in the work to develop an original idea or even employ good old-fashioned filmmaking craftsmanship. Sometimes even the worst of ideas can be turned into something palatable simply by applying good technique. "Shut In" is a disaster, however, both in conception and execution, and I can't recommend it.



  • Naomi Watts

  • Everything else.



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