Director: Farren Blackburn
Starring: Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt & Jacob Tremblay
Synopsis: A heart-pounding thriller about a widowed child psychologist who lives in an isolated existence in rural New England. Caught in a deadly winter storm, she must find a way to rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.
Rating: 15 Duration: 91 minutes Release date: 10 April (UK)
Sometimes a film can be so frustrating you just want to put your head in your hands and scream. That is certainly the case with Shut In. What looks like a capable thriller in the Hitchcock mould starts off well and is shot beautifully, but descends into madness making you question whether any of this was given any thought or just done on the fly.
Naomi Watts plays child psychologist – Mary – who has recently lost her husband in a car accident and now lives with her paralysed son – a victim of the same crash. As well as her day job, she must take care of her son, and living in the New England countryside she has little in the way of help. When one of her patients (Jacob Tremblay) goes missing Mary feels immensely guilty and feels some responsibility for his sudden disappearance. As a snowstorm begins to envelop her country home, Mary is plagued by visions and starts to question her own sanity.
Shut In takes a lot of it cues from other films in the genre. There are clear references to The Shining and the Hitchcock-lite feel wraps itself around the film leaving you in no doubt the style that director Farren Blackburn is aiming for. For 40 minutes or so the film casts an ominous feel and is wonderfully shot by Yves Belanger who creates a claustrophobic setting and produces some stunning wide shots. Sadly, the whole thing is let down by a plot twist that is so preposterous even M. Night Shyamalan would be falling off of his chair in astonishment.
Naomi Watts, surely one of her generations finest actresses, tries her best here, but is let down by a film completely devoid of tension or suspense. The idea that Watts was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for her role here is a joke in itself and something I may well dwell on in a separate post. It’s hard to say when an actor or actress puts in a poor performance, but Watts is certainly hindered by a lacklustre script and limited thrills.
It becomes difficult to find any enjoyment while watching Shut In. The acting is capable and the likes of Watts and Oliver Platt by no means shame themselves here, but it amounts to little. Farren Blackburn’s direction is efficient, but that is about as good as it gets and we are left with a film that is let down by a ridiculous plot point and some rote storytelling.
Unfortunately the DVD does not have anything in the way of special features, other than a scene selection. While DVD may or may not be on its way out, it seems a shame when a disc is released in the vanilla format.