Locked In syndrome is one of those things that must be absolutely horrendous to be involved with. You are locked in your body, unable to move, other than blinking in most instances. Despite this though, most people are completely unaffected, mentally.
Taking on a film about this syndrome then, you can imagine you have to tread very carefully, which is exactly what they don’t do with Shut In.
Shut In sees Mary, played by Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive, King Kong), having to take care of her stepson Stephen, played by Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things, As You Are), who ends up locked in after a car accident in which the father dies. They live out in the middle of nowhere, and there’s a storm coming – obviously.
They are joined in the house by Tom, played by Jacob Tremblay (Room, Before I Wake), who’s a small, deaf boy who has run away to be with Watts, his councillor. She thinks he’s run away from her, and she’s now going a bit crazy, seeing him in her room at night.
Oliver Platt (2012, Doctor Dolittle) meanwhile plays a doctor on the other end of a Skype call who tries to drive to her rescue, in a storm. I probably don’t even need to write the rest of this and I bet you can put it all together.
I should warn you, there are lots of spoilers from here on in.
The problems with Christina Hodson’s (her first film but she is set to write Transformers 6 and the rumoured Bumblebee spin-off (a Transformers-Mutant Ninja Turtles film??)) script are many and hit hard and fast.
First, we have a son who has apparently been faking being locked in for six-months, defying both his mother and the entire medical establishment. Not only that but he has then been getting up and slipping his step-mom medication, some of which is to make her drowsy.
Then we have a young boy living in the ‘crawl-space’ of the house and yet only comes out at night to see Mary, which is no doubt the time when Stephen is up and about, rather than during the day when he’s pretending to be locked in? Why does the boy run away, why does he come back, who is he, what’s his motivations?
Then we have his apparent motive which is that he’s ‘in love’ (although this isn’t said, it is very strongly hinted at) with Mary. So, he claims to have purposely caused the accident that killed his father, yet we saw that and that’s not what happens…so…what’s that all about then?
Next, we have Oliver Platt arriving in the house, offering his help like a good Samaritan, and instead of Mary coming out and saying ‘thank god you’re here, what shall we do about this’, she just watches him from her hidey-hole. Or how about when her step-son goes upstairs, instead of running away, let’s just mess about for a bit and then try and escape when he’s on his way back down.
Obviously, quite a few films have issues with plot, but this is just fundamentally wrong from start to finish. I don’t know what happened, whether things got cut, whether director Farren Blackburn (Daredevil TV, Holby City TV) just had a completely different vision, who knows, after sitting through this, who cares.
This film was featured on the 2013 Blacklist (the Blacklist a list of the ‘most liked’ unmade scripts of the year, it goes to show just how hard it can be sometimes to ‘get’ a script.
Oh yeah, the blu-ray, I’m sure it’s fine, the quality is good, shame the film isn’t.