Shut In

review by Bobby Blakey

Horror thrillers are a tricky genre. When they are promoted you never really know what you are getting into and this is often times a great thing, but of course it can also make you feel let down if it doesn’t work. The latest, Shut In features a good cast including Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, and David Cubitt, but does it offer up something that really will hit home or will it not be worth being snowed in for?

Shut In follows 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. This film is the perfect example of a trailer telling you one thing and while living up to it goes in an unexpected direction. This time around it works although is still somewhat predictable. The first half of the film is a bit slow, but out of necessity to attempt to set the tone of it all. There are aspects that could have been trimmed down to make the pacing more smooth, but it still works. Some may see the trailers and be expecting a horror film, but instead this film plays up more as a decent thriller. There are some interesting directions they take the story despite some really frustrating moments. One of the things that I hate more than anything with these kinds of films are the choices the characters make. Here they do the same of making a variety of flat out dumb choices that make little to no sense other than to extend the films length.

The cast do a good job with Naomi Watts carrying the bulk of the load. Much like her turn in 2002s The Ring she brings a wide range of emotion and fear to the role, but this time around she has so much more to deal with outside of just the fear. The addition of the disabled son she is forced to take care of makes it a bigger burden for the character as well as keeps the one location choice make a lot more sense. As the film progresses they do a good job at toying with the viewers and the direction they are heading. I was a bit disappointed that it felt like they couldn’t fully decide where they wanted reasoning behind it to be so never fully committed to anything and in turn made it feel emptier than it should have been.

In the end this is a decent thriller that isn’t breaking down any walls in the genre and is pretty predictable, but still enjoyable in its own way. I didn’t find any real scares in it, but can see where some spots might cause a jump or two. I felt that it has a slow start, but ultimately works well enough in the end. Give it a try and try to not figure it out and let it just play out in front of you and you will likely have a lot more fun.

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