31 Days of Reviews: Shut In (2016)

A widowed psychologist spends her days treating patients and taking care of her catatonic stepson. When one of her young patients vanishes, she begins to think his ghost may be haunting her home, and with the coming snowstorm, she has no way to escape.

When I first saw the previews for Shut In, I was decently excited. The movie stars Naomi Watts, and I’m a pretty big fan of hers. I had a little bit of excitement that maybe, just maybe, she was returning to thrillers. After watching the movie completely, I’m more in the line of thinking that she owed somebody something.

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Other than Naomi Watts, Shut In also features roles played by Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, David Cubitt, and Clémentine Poidatz. The movie is directed by Farren Blackburn and written by Christina Hodson. It’s got some great cinematography from Yves Bélanger, known recently for his work on Brooklyn.

Shut In visually looks good. Naomi Watts does a commendable job with what she’s given. I don’t really have any complaints about any of the actors’ performances. The main issue I had was with the story.

Overall, the story is a slow burn. Normally I don’t have an issue with this, but with Shut In, it really didn’t feel like there was a pay off. The story was unnecessarily confusing. The thrills, if you can really call them that, are reduced to dream sequences for the most part. The story really only gets interesting in the last 15 minutes or so, and even then, it’s unfortunately full of cliches.

Shut In needed more character development. The only one that got any bit of backstory was Naomi Watts’ character, and even then, it didn’t feel like enough to explain some of her motives. I wanted to know more about her stepson. I wanted to know more about her missing patient. What makes them stand out? At the moment, nothing makes them stand out. I felt they were just… there.

In a way, it almost feels as if the story was too simple, so they tried to pump it up with a bunch of stuff that only served to hinder the overall goal. Some of the characters were unnecessary, especially the father of one of the patients who pursues Watts’ character romantically. There definitely should have been more hints dropped throughout to lead the audience to the eventual end goal too.

Instead, you have a slow burn movie that takes a dramatic 180 degree turn in the last 30 minutes and then ends abruptly.

Through the whole movie, I couldn’t help but be bored. I’m really bummed about it too because I really wanted to like Shut In. I really wanted this to be a grand return to the psychological thriller for Naomi Watts. I really did want that. I wish it didn’t feel as much like a waste of time as I felt it did.

I wish I had more to say about this one. I don’t typically like writing reviews that are this short. I just feel like there isn’t much more to say about Shut In. I wouldn’t recommend it.

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