Shut In (2016 film)

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Shut In
Shut In 2016 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFarren Blackburn
Produced by
Written byChristina Hodson
Music byNathaniel Méchaly
CinematographyYves Bélanger
Edited by
  • Baxter
  • Maryline Monthieux
Distributed byEuropaCorp
Release date
  • November 11, 2016 (2016-11-11) (United States)
  • November 30, 2016 (2016-11-30) (France)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
  • France
  • Canada[2]
Budget$10 million[3]
Box office$13.1 million[4]

Shut In is a 2016 French-Canadian psychological thriller film directed by Farren Blackburn, written by Christina Hodson, and starring Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, David Cubitt, and Clémentine Poidatz.

The film was released in the United States on November 11, 2016, and in France on November 30, 2016, by EuropaCorp. It received negative reviews from critics, and grossed $13 million worldwide.


Stephen is a troubled kid from Maine being sent to boarding school. While his father, Richard Portman, is driving him there, they get into a bad argument, and the car swerves into oncoming traffic, killing Richard and putting Stephen in a vegetative state.

Six months later, Richard's second wife and Stephen's stepmother, Mary, is taking care of his every need. Mary is a psychologist who works from home with children and adolescents. She is upset to learn that one of her patients, a mute child named Tom, is to be transferred to a school in Boston. Later, Mary discusses Stephen with her therapist, Dr. Wilson. While she feels guilty, she has decided to put Stephen in a home to be cared for because he is no longer there and is just a body.

She finds Tom asleep in her car. She brings him inside and makes a call, but Tom vanishes. The police conduct a fruitless search. Over the following nights, Mary wakes up to sounds in the house and even wakes up to see Tom in the darkness one night. She discusses these events with Dr. Wilson, who attributes it to parasomnia. Dr. Wilson wants to prescribe her some medication and orders some blood work. Doug Hart, the father of one of her patients, asks her out, but Mary declines, implying that it would be unprofessional.

Mary reconsiders and has dinner with Doug. Later, Stephen is missing from his bed. She finds a small door to a crawlspace and is grabbed from inside by two small hands. The next morning, she wakes up on the floor. Stephen is back in his bed but has scratches on his face.

Mary gets two offers to leave her house before an impending snow storm, one from her assistant Lucy, and another from Doug, but declines both. Dr. Wilson contacts her via Skype with her blood work results. He admonishes her because her stepson's medication is showing up in her blood. Mary denies taking any medication and walks away without ending the call. Dr. Wilson sees Stephen's empty wheelchair, then sees Stephen walk across the living room. The lights go out in the house and the computer connection drops.

Mary is in the basement when the lights go out. Mary sees Tom, and just then, Stephen appears and knocks her out. Mary regains consciousness – bound, gagged, and naked in the bathtub, with Stephen bathing her. He reveals to Mary how he woke up in the hospital after the accident with her there. He didn't move or speak so that he could relish her attention. He believes that for six months they were happy together, but then Tom arrived.

It is revealed that Tom has been living in the crawlspace, rather than having been transferred to Boston. When Tom saw Stephen moving around, Stephen blocked him in the crawlspace, hoping he would starve to death. Stephen was keeping Mary disorientated by slipping her his medicine, allowing him to walk around at night, but also confusing her whenever she saw Tom. When Stephen goes to deal with Tom, Mary unties herself and drinks the bottle of soap to vomit up the medicine. Dr. Wilson rushes to Mary's house, but wrecks his car on the way. His attempt to call the police is unsuccessful due to the snow storm. Mary finds Stephen and Tom in the basement where Stephen is planning to murder Tom, and learns that Stephen killed his father on purpose. Mary and Tom escape the basement and hide in a closet.

Dr. Wilson arrives to warn Mary, only to be attacked and stabbed by Stephen. Mary tries to leave and discovers Doug's dead body blocking the door. Dr. Wilson, with his dying breath, advises Mary to play along with Stephen's delusion. Stephen has nailed all of the doors and windows shut to prevent them from escaping, Mary breaks a skylight and pulls up Tom to climb out. Mary plays along with Stephen's delusions until she is able to escape. Mary and Tom run to the lake, where Stephen attempts to drown Tom in the freezing water. Mary grabs a hammer Stephen threw down and strikes his head, killing him. Days later, Mary and Tom are seen arriving at the Child and Adoption center.



On November 5, 2014, it was announced that EuropaCorp had set Farren Blackburn to direct Shut In, a psychological thriller based on the 2012 Black List script by Christina Hodson.[5] EuropaCorp financed, distributed worldwide and co-produced the film with Lava Bear Films.[5] Naomi Watts was set to play the lead role.[5] On March 18, 2015, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton, David Cubitt, Jacob Tremblay, and Clementine Poidatz were added to the cast of the film.[6]


In March 2015, EuropaCorp set the film for a February 19, 2016, release.[7] On December 15, 2015, the release date was pushed back to June 17, 2016. In February 2016, the release date was pushed back again to September 9, 2016. In May 2016, the release date was pushed back again to November 11, 2016.[8]


Box office[edit]

Shut In grossed $6.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $6.2 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $13.1 million, against a production budget of $10 million.[4] Shut In was released alongside Arrival and Almost Christmas, and was expected to gross around $6 million from 2,058 theaters in its opening weekend.[9] It ended up grossing $3.7 million, finishing seventh at the box office.[10]

Critical response[edit]

Shut In received negative reviews, with critics comparing it unfavorably to The Shining.[11][12] On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 9% based on 43 reviews, with an average rating of 2.92/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Fatally undermined by a clichéd, confused plot and a total absence of thrills, Shut In wastes its talented cast – and viewers' time."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score 25 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[14] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.


Watts received a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actress,[10] but lost to Rebekah Turner for Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.


  1. ^ "Shut In". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "Oppression". Unifrance. 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  3. ^ "All Pics Rise Thanks To Veterans Day: 'Doctor Strange' Leading; 'Arrival' Blasting Off To $18.5M-$22.5M". Deadline Hollywood.
  4. ^ a b "Shut In (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Vlessing, Etan (November 5, 2014). "AFM: Naomi Watts Joins Psychological Thriller 'Shut In'". Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  6. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 18, 2015). "Oliver Platt Joins Naomi Watts In 'Shut In' For EuropaCorp & Lava Bear". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (March 6, 2015). "Naomi Watts' 'Shut In,' Sullivan Stapleton's 'The Lake' Set 2016 Release Dates". Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  8. ^ Hime, Nelly (October 30, 2016). "Black List Script 'Shut In' (2016) Gets Trailer and Release Date". Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  9. ^ "'Doctor Strange' to hold off 'Arrival' and 'Almost Christmas' at the box office". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ a b "'Doctor Strange' Repeats at #1 as 'Arrival', 'Almost Christmas' & 'Shut In' Hit Theaters". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.
  11. ^ Arnaudin, Edwin. "Movie review: Naomi Watts in 'Shining' rip-off 'Shut In'". The Citizen-Times. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Makepeace, Christine. "All Work and No Play Makes Shut In a Dull Movie". Film School Rejects. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "Shut In (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  14. ^ "Shut In Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 22, 2016.

External links[edit]