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Shut In

shut-in-revShut In  (2016)    EuropaCorp/Suspense-Thriller    RT: 91 minutes    Rated PG-13 (terror, some violence, bloody images, nudity, thematic elements, brief strong language)    Director: Farren Blackburn    Screenplay: Christina Hodson    Music: Nathaniel Mechaly    Cinematography: Yves Belanger    Release date: November 11, 2016 (US)    Cast: Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, David Cubitt, Clementine Poidatz, Ellen David, Crystal Balint, Alex Braunstein, Tim Post.

Ratingfullstar1star-empty1star-empty1star-empty1

 Pop quiz, hot shots! What does it mean when a studio declines to screen a movie in advance, especially one that features an Oscar-nominated actor or actress in the lead? It means it stinks. That’s certainly the case with Shut In, a dull-as-dishwater/slow-as-molasses thriller starring Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive) as a child psychologist trapped in her isolated rural home during a snowstorm with something or somebody that means to do her harm. If this sounds vaguely familiar to you, you’re right. It “borrows” (code for “rip off”) scenes and ideas from The Shining so shamelessly that it borders on criminal. At the very least, it’s a slap in the face to Stanley Kubrick who ought to haunt the makers of this lame movie.

 Watts plays Dr. Mary Portman, a recently widowed child psychologist who spends most of her time caring for her stepson Stephen (Heaton, Stranger Things) who was left paralyzed from the neck down by the same car accident that claimed her husband’s life six months earlier. She’s all alone in her isolated Maine home save for a few patients, a receptionist and Stephen. On occasion, she Skypes with her own shrink, Dr. Wilson (Platt, Chicago Med), who worries about her mental state. Being all alone in that house and caring for a quadriplegic can get to a person, you know?

One night, one of her patients, a young deaf boy named Tom (Tremblay, Room), shows up at her doorstep. She decides to let him stay the night which turns out to be a bad decision. Someone or something locks her in her office and when she gets out, Tom has vanished into the cold, frigid night. That’s when strange things start happening around the house. Wilson thinks she’s suffering from parasomnia but we know damn well it’s not that. So what it is then? I’ll only say that it’s a plot twist so ludicrous that you’re more inclined to scream with laughter than in terror.

shut-in-poster That all of this happens during a huge snowstorm makes it all the more tired and predictable. Most recent horror movies can be described by those two adjectives; hence, it’s not my biggest gripe about Shut In. What really grinds my gears about it is how it openly insults the viewer’s intelligence with gaps in logic so huge not even Evel Knievel could handle them. Here now are just a few burning questions I have about Shut In.

-There’s a missing child involved. Why isn’t Mary’s house and property crawling with cops and feds? Where’s the search party? The one cop that does show up merely takes a report and leaves.

-The child is deaf? Why on earth does Mary go outside screaming his name upon discovering him missing?

-How does she make any money? Her office is in the middle of freaking nowhere! She can’t be the only child psychologist in the whole of Maine.

-There’s a snowstorm. How is it that the dock near her home isn’t covered with ice and snow? For that matter, who shoveled her walk and cleaned her car? They also had no snow on them?

-How does Tom manage to make it to Mary’s house without freezing to death? I didn’t see a coat, hat, scarf or gloves.

-In regards to the big twist, how does something like that go unnoticed for so long? That’s all I’ll say about that.

-Did Watts fire her agent for incompetency? How else do you explain her involvement with this piece of crap?

Shut In is guilty of many offenses but the biggest is its utter inanity. This is one of the stupidest thrillers I’ve seen in a long time. Director Farren Blackburn (Hammer of the Gods) tries to copy M. Night Shyamalan’s style with its languid pace and slow work-up to the big reveal. It hasn’t worked for Shyamalan for a long time and doesn’t work for Blackburn. Watts does her best but her efforts are in vain since she’s given nothing to work with. She and Tremblay are positively wasted here. Shut In tries throwing in a few cheap jump-scares to no effect. This movie is laughable in every respect, especially in copying scenes from The Shining. At one point, a character breaks his way through a locked door; I couldn’t help but say “Here’s Johnny!” It’s pointless, however, to do this since its unlikely anybody in the movie’s target audience has ever seen the 1980 horror classic. Once again, we get a tepid PG-13 thriller aimed at gullible teens who think they’re seeing a real horror movie. It’s slow, boring and not the least bit scary or thrilling. Watching paint dry at home is infinitely more entertaining and a better way to spend your time. 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 11 November 2016 19:47

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The Girl on the Train

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