Review: SHUT IN (2016) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Review: SHUT IN (2016)

Review: SHUT IN (2016)

SHUT IN centres on Mary Portman (Naomi Watts), a child psychologist who works and lives in rural New England. When a terrible car accident ends up killing her husband and left her 18-year-old stepson, Stephen (Charlie Heaton), completely paralysed from neck down, Portman has to spend a lot of time taking care of him. As her burden starts to take a toll on her, she begins experiencing something unusual that involved Stephen as well as her missing patient -- a young deaf boy named Tom (Jacob Tremblay).

REVIEW: With a title like SHUT IN and a premise that set mostly in the confines of a rural country home, you would expect words like "claustrophobia" and "edge of your seat" popped into your mind. Unfortunately, British TV director Farren Blackburn (Doctor Who, Luther and Daredevil) botched the would-be captivating premise by reducing the movie into a disappointingly run-of-the-mill thriller. Despite clocking only at 90 minutes, the movie feels surprisingly overlong as Blackburn and first-time screenwriter Christina Hodson spends too much time trying to stretch Portman's constant inner struggle as a single mother who has to take care of her paralysed stepson. Although such approach would make us root for the character strongly, the biggest problem here lies in its heavy-handed execution.

Even by the time the thriller comes full force and the main antagonist is subsequently revealed, Blackburn's direction remains as pedestrian as he goes. Not to mention the suspenseful moments are either relying heavily on loud noises and cheap jump scares or succumbed into a standard hide-and-run formula.

As for the cast, only Naomi Watts is worth seeing here with her fairly competent performance as a struggling widowed child psychologist. The rest, such as Oliver Platt doesn't get to do much other than playing a worried shrink who spends most of the time chatting with Portman through online. Jacob Tremblay, who made such a breakthrough in last year's ROOM, is sadly neglected into a thankless role.

Despite Naomi Watts' effective performance front and centre, SHUT IN fails to make good use of its potentially intriguing premise while Farren Blackburn's direction is largely predictable.

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