Shut In is written by Christina Hodson (Unforgettable) and is her screenwriting debut. It is directed by Farren Blackburn (Doctors, Holby City), who is more accustomed to directing TV shows and does seem to struggle somewhat with a feature length film.
“That’s not my son. It’s just a body that I feed and wash and clothe.”
Mary Portman (King Kong, Mulholland Drive) is a clinical psychologist, working from her remote and snowy home in New England. She is piecing her life back together following a tragic car accident in which her husband was killed and her step son Stephen (Charlie Heaton – As You Are, Urban and the Shed Crew) was left paralysed. In addition to seeing her young patients, she is now a full time carer for Stephen, who is totally unable to move.
She is beginning to get herself together, has a potential new friend in the form of a patient’s father, Doug (David Cubitt – Stonewall) and has plans to move Stephen to a care home as she feels that she has already lost him..
Things become a little more complicated with the news of a severe incoming blizzard. The social worker Joan (Ellen David – Brooklyn, Goon) has come to take away one of her patients, Tom (Jacob Tremblay – Room, Before I Wake), due to his bad behaviour. He has other ideas however and turns back up at the house, only to disappear again into the blizzard.
With the town out searching for him despite the general belief that he is dead, Mary begins to imagine seeing Tom around the house. Her doctor (Oliver Platt – 2012, The Ticket) believes that she has sleep deprivation, however as the weather draws in and her hallucinations begin to intensify, the race in on to find out what’s really happening.
Shut In is a strange one. The acting performances are brilliant and carry the story as well as they can, but they don’t have much to work with. There isn’t much suspense and the jump scares feel far too obvious to really work. The storm when it finally arrives is a bit of a let down and frankly the idea is a bit silly and has been done before. The story itself is a little empty and the “twist” is easy to spot within the first half hour of the film.
That being said, it is watchable, although it will never be a classic and it’s worth a look just for the performances from up and coming young actors.
“I keep hearing sounds. Something’s going on and it’s not just in my head. I can prove it. You have to believe me. He’s real.”
Shut In is available to buy now on DVD and Blu-ray.