For the past couple of days, ‘Shut In’ starring Naomi Watts has been baffling me. I will never understand what this movie is about or what went wrong when writer Christina Hodson and director Farren Blackburn were trying to conjure up the perfect psychological horror-thriller. There are some good things about this movie that gives it that potential; (Lighting to set the mood during its “suspenseful” moments, sound design to tell us more about a certain character than exposition in a screenplay, and good performances.) its problem comes from the execution of its plot, which is also very hard to figure out.
The story involves a widowed divorcee named Mary Portman (Watts) who has to take care of her son (or stepson, I couldn’t tell with the way this film was written. He’s also played by Charlie Heaton) after he gets involved in a car accident, killing his father and leaving him paralyzed, for what seems to be the rest of his life. Mary also works as a child psychiatrist in a building right across from the house she lives in, making it easier to get from home to work. (Why can’t life be all like this?) There is also a missing person’s case involving a deaf patient of hers (Jacob Tremblay of ‘Room’) who ends up breaking in to her place, and that’s pretty much it.
There is no other way I can explain this movie to any of you; it is so confusing and doesn’t even delve much into its main plot. During the night a friend and I saw this frustrating experience of a film, I felt like I needed some help. I wished that Naomi Watts was a real psychologist so I could tell her how much of a bad experience I’ve had watching this. I felt as if I lost everything I had; but one thing is for certain, as frustrated as I was, it sure didn’t make me feel like wanting to punch a wall. (Which is the effect I had when watching ‘XOXO’ on Netflix.) I can’t recommend this movie unless you really like horror and want to give this one a chance; there’s nothing really scary or suspenseful about it besides the fake jump scares that add nothing except only to laugh in your face and give you a HUGE middle finger. (or sigh of relief depending on your tolerance level.)
I do give ‘Shut In’ props for not relying too much on gore or jump scares, (which is what I feel that horror movies rely too much on for shock value.) but try comparing it to films like ‘Don’t Breathe’ or ‘It Follows’, you will get more suspense, not only from the way these two are shot, but also for great sound and score; which this film tried, yet failed to accomplish. ‘Shut In’ has the feel of a film based on a Stephen King novel, and would work better under M. Night Shyamalan’s hands with its genuinely original, yet horribly written twist. I would rather watch ‘The Happening’ or ‘The Boy’ again than re-watch this uninteresting piece of misery. At least, it’s better than last year’s ‘Fantastic Four’.