Another Friday, another excuse to release a horror movie in the sea of mediocrity. Robbie K here, and today I join two other souls to review Shut In starring Naomi Watts and Jacob Tremblay, a supposed thriller movie that flew under the radar. But is Shut In going to deliver the thrills, or like many just give you chills from the AC. Let’s get started shall we?
- Good psychological portrayal
- Nice Twist
When it comes to horror movies, there is a fine line between boring and corny scares. Shut In treads this line well dropping the monsters, grandiose serial killers, and aliens for a more realistic source of fear. You, the audience, will be subjected to the worst monster of all, the human psyche forced to figure out what is real and what is an illusion as Mary tries to uncover the mystery at hand. This film drops all the theatrical gore and maiming of the stereotypical horrors and forces your imagination to paint a scarier reality that gets under your skin. The team also loves the use of darkness to play with your mind, utilizing both sound and video editing to maximize the feeling of isolation in the domestic setting.
Even more impressive is the portrayal of schizophrenia or parasomnia in this case. Hollywood often designs sequences to be trippy, horrifying, or overdramatic. In this movie though, the hallucinations are accurate to those described by mentally disturbed patients. You’ll see nightmares illustrating guilt, terror at the inability to distinguish fact from fiction, and the lack of peace associated from hearing noises that go bump in the night. Shut In is certainly all about getting locked in, but not so much the house as in your mind. The result of this approach, is some added suspense to get you invested.
But the real surprise is the twist that pops in the end, which is somewhat hinted in a few scenes. While certainly not the biggest surprise (hello Arrival), Shut In’s revelation takes the tale down a different road and leads to a semi satisfying, albeit dragged out, conclusion. And unlike some films in this genre, the twist actually fits in well with the realistic tone of this movie instead of dropping it into the dimension of corny, convenient write ins.
- Not that scary
- Not that suspenseful
- Could have been a Netflix Movie
Despite all the realism and psychological shocks in this movie, Shut In didn’t really frighten me that much. For one, the team decided to use the usual array of scare tricks (e.g. camera angle of an abandoned hall, music going silent, and dialogue that foreshadowed the coming jump scares) which after the third time grew stale. In addition, there wasn’t an entity that got under my skin or would give me nightmares.
In addition, the supposed suspense was lacking for most of the movie. The underlying mystery was certainly intriguing to say the least, but I didn’t find my heart rushing, my eyes darting, or my butt at the end of the seat. The suspense did pick up once the twist was revealed, but the sequences drowned out and diluted the threat thereby reducing the adrenaline rush. Does this mean it was bad? No, it just wasn’t the spine tingling chill the trailers made it out to be.
Yet the thing that probably took away from the film the most, was how much it felt like it belonged on Netflix. Outside of acting and good use of speaker sound effects, Shut In really doesn’t have much uniqueness to warrant big theater release. It’s very simplistic with formulaic scares, that lacks the bite you hope a movie brings. As I made this realization, I found myself bored.
Overall Shut In has the realistic horror element most films lack in this genre. The added psychological element helps keep things intriguing alongside the mystery of the little boy, and Naomi Watts is still a stunning actress to watch. Unfortunately, Shut In uses stale tricks to scare you and is bland in the grand scheme of things, not counting the twist. The good news is it runs at a short run time of 90 minutes, so you’ll get out of the theater rather quickly. If you are reading this review, you can guess this movie is best left to Netflix or Redbox.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 5.5