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edge staff writer


Shut the front door - 'Shut In'

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Erstwhile thriller fails on every possible level

In a lot of ways, 2016 has been a great year for horror films. There have been a number of innovative, interesting offerings within the genre movies that embrace and subvert conventions and tropes and create something engaging and different.

However, just because there have been some really good movies doesn't mean that we've completely avoided seeing some really bad ones. There have been a number of pretty significant misfires to go along with the quality efforts.

This brings us to 'Shut In,' an ostensible thriller from the schlockmeisters of Europa Corp. Usually, you can rely on Europa's films for a certain degree of sleazy low-rent engagement. Unfortunately, this movie doesn't even have the standard batst sensibilities that lend a degree of weirdo charm to many of the studio's offerings. Instead, it's a smoldering dumpster fire of a movie that wastes the significant talents of its cast on a story that is equal parts dull, derivative and outright laughable.

Mary Portman (Naomi Watts, 'Allegiant') is a child therapist living in the woods in rural Maine. A tragic car accident took the life of her husband and left her stepson Stephen (Charlie Heaton, TV's 'Stranger Things') utterly unresponsive; she has devoted herself to taking care of him, though she's starting to realize that the job might be too big for her to handle alone.

She's still dealing with clients as well; one child in particular a young deaf boy named Tom (Jacob Tremblay, 'Room') has captured her attention. Unfortunately, Tom is a ward of the state and is soon to be heading to a state-run institution, much to Mary's chagrin.

But when Tom mysteriously turns up at her house late one night and just as mysteriously disappears into the cold and snowy night things start to get strange for Mary. So strange that she starts confessing to her own therapist Dr. Wilson (Oliver Platt, 'The Ticket') who she consults with via Skype that she believes something bizarre and possibly supernatural might be happening. Basically, she thinks that Tom has died and his ghost is somehow haunting her and her stepson.

Only it turns out that the truth is something altogether different, something far weirder and completely and utterly stupid.

DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. That's all I can tell you. Just don't. There is nothing of redeeming value about this film. The first half is a derivative thriller that is devoid of scares, while the second half is a master class in Oedipal idiocy wrapped around one of the most ludicrous plot twists you're ever likely to see. It's all so awful.

Watching Naomi Watts someone with legitimate talent try to polish this turd is borderline heartbreaking. She's far too good of an actress to be saddled with such execrable material. There are numerous moments too many to count, really where you can actually see the sad resignation in her eyes. She knows it's crap, but it's too late for her to do anything about it. Oliver Platt gives the impression of having been on set for about a day and a half; this is a dude paying some bills, nothing more. He could not care less; hell, he literally phones in (well, Skypes in) his performance. And we'll just hope that Heaton and Tremblay haven't completely sabotaged their careers; Heaton in particular should probably fire his agent.

Honestly, the sole highlight of this film springs from its odd devotion to verisimilitude with regards to its Maine setting. On three separate occasions, we see a weather report on the television and it's WABI's Todd Simcox all three times. Seriously, Todd Simcox is (kind of) in this movie, which is really pretty cool, and might actually give the best performance in it, which is not cool at all.

(Congratulations on your appearance, Todd! I only wish it came in a movie that wasn't terrible.)

This movie is hands-down one of the year's worst. It is regrettable on all levels, a film that makes you feel dumber for having been conned into purchasing a ticket. It is a thriller without thrills that offers horror without scares. It is boring and poorly-made and narratively ridiculous and very, very bad.

'Shut In'? More like 'St In.'

[0 out of 5]

Last modified on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 19:28


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