Shut In (2016 film)

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Shut In
Shut In 2016 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFarren Blackburn
Written byChristina Hodson
Produced by
CinematographyYves Bélanger
Edited by
  • Baxter
  • Maryline Monthieux
Music byNathaniel Méchaly
Distributed byEuropaCorp (France)
VVS Films (Canada)[2]
Release dates
  • November 11, 2016 (2016-11-11) (United States)
  • November 30, 2016 (2016-11-30) (France)
Running time
91 minutes[3]
  • France
  • Canada[1]
Budget$10 million[4]
Box office$13.1 million[5]

Shut In is a 2016 psychological horror 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 teen from Maine who is 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 into 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 teenagers. 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 tests. 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. While looking for him, Mary finds that a small door to a crawlspace is slightly ajar. As she examines it, she 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 declines two invitations to leave her isolated house before an impending ice storm, one from her assistant Lucy, and another from Doug. Dr. Wilson contacts her via Skype with her blood test 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 has been keeping Mary disoriented by slipping her his medicine, which not only allows him to walk around at night, but also confuses Mary when she sees Tom. Stephen forces Mary to swallow another pill, then goes to deal with Tom. Alone in the tub, Mary uses a bottle of shampoo to both slip her bonds and induce vomiting to expel the pill. 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 ice 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 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 Tom up 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 the hammer Stephen dropped and hits him in the 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.[6] EuropaCorp financed, distributed worldwide and co-produced the film with Lava Bear Films.[6] Naomi Watts was set to play the lead role.[6] On March 18, 2015, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton, David Cubitt, Jacob Tremblay, and Clementine Poidatz were added to the cast of the film.[7]


In March 2015, EuropaCorp set the film for a February 19, 2016, release.[8] 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.[9]


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.[5] 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.[10] It ended up grossing $3.7 million, finishing seventh at the box office.[11]

Critical response[edit]

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."[12] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score 25 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[13] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.[citation needed]

Rex Reed of The New York Observer gave the film 0/4 stars, saying that it was "A lunk-headed, badly written, indifferently acted, woodenly directed heap of spook-movie clichés", and added: "There isn't one genuine thrill in the whole thing. I’ve had bigger scares from my goldfish bowl."[14] Richard James Havis of the South China Morning Post gave the film 1/5 stars, writing: "how Shut In managed to get a worldwide release presents a bigger mystery than its story, which, as is usual for the genre, puts a pretty woman in danger at the hands of a deranged male."[15] Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times wrote: "In this achingly inept thriller, you will see Naomi Watts do what she can to sell a plot of such preposterousness that the derisory laughter around me began barely 20 minutes in."[16] Kimber Myers of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "is more effective as a 90-minute commercial for the L.L. Bean aesthetic than as a pseudo-psychological thriller."[17]

Zach Schevich of Time Out gave the film 2/5 stars and wrote: "As Mary loses sleep, her paranoia worsens, yet Christina Hodson's monotonous script fails to make Mary's psychological struggles feel any more severe than a case of misplaced keys."[18] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian was more positive, giving it a score of 3/5 stars and writing: "There is something entertainingly Hitchcockian and Freudian in this twisty chiller, with a touch of Dennis Potter somewhere in there, too. It's low-key and modestly budgeted, but perfectly well made, and Watts maintains a cool and steady presence."[19]


Watts received a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actress,[11] but lost to Rebekah Turner for Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.


  1. ^ "Oppression". Unifrance. 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  2. ^ "Shut In (2016)". UniFrance. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  3. ^ "Shut In". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  4. ^ "All Pics Rise Thanks To Veterans Day: 'Doctor Strange' Leading; 'Arrival' Blasting Off To $18.5M-$22.5M". Deadline Hollywood.
  5. ^ a b "Shut In (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Vlessing, Etan (November 5, 2014). "AFM: Naomi Watts Joins Psychological Thriller 'Shut In'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  7. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 18, 2015). "Oliver Platt Joins Naomi Watts In 'Shut In' For EuropaCorp & Lava Bear". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (March 6, 2015). "Naomi Watts' 'Shut In,' Sullivan Stapleton's 'The Lake' Set 2016 Release Dates". Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  9. ^ Hime, Nelly (October 30, 2016). "Black List Script 'Shut In' (2016) Gets Trailer and Release Date". Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  10. ^ "'Doctor Strange' to hold off 'Arrival' and 'Almost Christmas' at the box office". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ a b "'Doctor Strange' Repeats at #1 as 'Arrival', 'Almost Christmas' & 'Shut In' Hit Theaters". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.
  12. ^ "Shut In (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  13. ^ "Shut In Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  14. ^ Reed, Rex (November 16, 2016). "'Shut In' Is a Poor Excuse for a Thriller, Starring a Wasted Naomi Watts". Observer. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  15. ^ Havis, Richard James (November 22, 2016). "Film review: Shut In – Naomi Watts is too good for this awful thriller". South China Morning Post. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  16. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (November 11, 2016). "Review: 'Shut In' (Naomi Watts Should Really Get Out More)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  17. ^ Myers, Kimber (November 11, 2016). "Review: Ridiculous thriller 'Shut In' boasts Naomi Watts, comfy sweaters and little else". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  18. ^ Schevich, Zach (November 11, 2016). "Shut In". Time Out. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  19. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (February 23, 2017). "Shut In review – Naomi Watts shines in a twisty, Hitchcockian thriller". The Guardian. Retrieved February 17, 2022.

External links[edit]