You can imagine our Editor’s delight when he heard about new digital download release of ‘Shut In’ mistakenly believing it to be about an after hours drinking session at The Nag’s Head so we were delighted to see the disappointment on his face when he saw that it’s about a single mother of a toddler and a baby who finds herself locked in the pantry by her violent ex-boyfriend having to find a way out to protect her vulnerable children. It’s a decent premise for a thriller in some respects has elements of ‘Panic Room’ and ‘Don’t Breathe’.
Starring Rainey Qualley as Jessica the mother and recovering drug addict struggling to stay on the straight and narrow with her ex Rob (Jake Horowitz) with the all moods swings of a hitch hiking Vietnam vet finding he’s been picked up by James Corden doing his carpool Karoake. Jessica is well off without him and his hair trigger temper but when he traps her in the pantry nailing the door shut it’s her baby and toddler that instantly have the audience’s anxiety peaking. But what is a great premise is let down by a removal from reality as any mother in such a scenario would have been out of their mind doing anything possible to break out. Instead Shut In has Jessica frankly getting a bit irritable with her toddler and even instructing her on how to knock up a mix of baby milk! The children are undeniably cute and endearing and to hear their distressed screams, particularly in one scene where they have a knife held to their throat and the children do seem genuinely upset if not downright terrified but again there’s little urgency from Jessica trying to break out by any necessary means.
Shut In ramps it up with the arrival of Rob’s degenerate friend Sammy (Vincent Gallo) whose veiled threats about what will happen to her children if he doesn’t get what he feels Rob owes him takes it up a notch and there is a great game of cat and mouse between the two. In a now well established era of #TimesUp the film has a central female character rising up against the oppressive man who has ruled her life and she’s not going to take it anymore with a decent third act in what is barely a 90 minute thriller.
Shut In has an interesting pedigree. Financed by The Daily Wire a right wing news outlet whose move into film production has started with ‘Shut In’ with Ben Shapiro a right wing commentator whose take down of left wing arguments are something to behold even if you don’t agree with him. So Shut in is rife with religious imagery right from the start with apples and a close up of a pair of withered apples and a wiggling maggot in a scene surely not dissimilar from Brooklyn Beckham’s honeymoon night. Here the Catholic imagery plays heavily around Christ on the crucifix in so far as it inspires her strength to stay away from drugs and as well as inspiring a scene that protects her from Sammy. What’s also interest also is the return of actor Vincent Gallo after a near screen absence of almost ten years albeit in a crucial supporting role and he’s lost none of his screen magnitude and Shut In seems an unusual project for his return to screen acting. Qualley, who has something of the Megan Fox about her though mercifully she doesn’t spend her private life with a ‘here today, long forgotten tomorrow’ rock star with tattoos that seem to have been inspired by the note pad at the side of the phone, and is convincing in the role despite the script never really giving her character a senses of desperate urgency that would have driven a real life mum in such a predicament yet at the same time she’s persuasive as a previously drug dependent mother
Here’s the Shut In trailer…..
Signature Entertainment presents Shut In on Digital Platforms 30th May 2022