Several awesome horror films came out in 2016 that I wasn’t able to watch, but little by little I’m making my way through them. Shut In was a film that I was interested in from the get-go, but there was never really much hype about it. Leaving me to wonder if it was an underrated gem or a one-time viewing experience.

Shut In is a horror thriller directed by Farren Blackburn and written by Christina Hodson. It was released in November 2016, but hasn’t received much hype and I’m not sure why. The story is exactly what we want from a thriller and it is uniquely paralyzing with a talented cast starring Naomi Watts, Charlie Heaton, Jacob TremblaOliver Platt, and more.

The story revolves around a psychologist named Mary (Watts) who insists that her husband send their son Stephen (Heaton) away after getting in trouble at school. During the car ride, a horrible accident occurs leaving her a widow and her son completely paralyzed. Although he was her step-son, she was extremely close to him, and between the sorrow and guilt, she ends up being his caregiver. All hope seems lost until a troubled little boy named Tom (Trembla) comes into her life, but what if it was for the worse?

Man, I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I was hoping it would be good, but after not hearing much about it, my expectations were set low but Shut In blew them out of the water. As I previously mentioned, it’s exactly what you want a thriller to be. It builds up the tension slowly and has you continuously guessing on what is really going on. Then towards the middle of the story the scenes become incredibly intense and the viewer is at the edge of their seat. It’s full of mystery, unexpected twists, and more.

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All of the performances were delivered superbly and never over the top. Watts is always a delight to watch and the horror genre, once again, suits her beautifully. I just love seeing her in this type of role. Heaton was exceptional as well and despite the circumstances throughout the story he was still able to really show what he can do as an actor. After seeing him on the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, I knew he’d be something special and is steadily becoming one of my favorite actors. I think we will see great things from him in the future.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the atmosphere and cinematography. Everything seems symbolic. Everyone is shut in. Mary is trapped by her guilt, Stephen is trapped in his own mind/body, the house is in the middle of no where, and then the heavy snow surrounding the area makes it even that more suffocating. There’s no where to go. All of this connects and as the viewer watches, they may find themselves feeling trapped, hopeless, and confused.

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Overall, Shut In is definitely a film I would recommend to anyone. I would also consider it one of my new favorite “winter” films. It’s a unique thriller that delivers on all aspects and while some may pick up on the twists and turns early, others may take a little longer.. like myself. If you have a free night in the near future, cuddle up with your favorite blanket, and shut yourself in for the night and watch this underrated gem!

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