Naomi Watts is all alone, caring for her comatose son, in the unlikely thriller “Shut In.”
And, despite the teen’s handicap, it’s the audience that gets locked into a “deep vegetative state.”
Watts plays Mary Portman, a psychologist who lives alone with her stepson (Charlie Heaton) at their upscale country estate. Despite having a lucrative practice, Portman unexplainably does all the heavy lifting with Steven. She feeds, bathes and talks to her hunky boy while he sleeps in a state of deep unconsciousness.
Next, the audience is asked to believe that one of Portman’s child patients, apparently killed after running off in snowstorm, is back terrorizing her by hiding in the house and only coming out at night. If you think this child is really behind all the creepy goings-on at the Portman mansion, perhaps you need a doctor.
No, this isn’t “Pet Sematery” or “The Bad Seed.” When pre-teens kill in real life they rarely target adults, so a child stalking his adult psychologist is really a dumb idea, even by Hollywood standards.
Watts and her co-star, Oliver Platt, are forced to ride out this phony thriller. Platt, who plays Portman’s shrink, phones-it-in, literally. Most of his scenes with Watts are on FaceTime. Platt’s character has basically one major function. I won’t tell you what it is, but you can probably guess.
“Shut In” is crammed with other B-thriller clichés like those phony baloney dream sequences the writers try to pass off as “really happening” until they say “sucker.” After getting fooled a couple of times, you start to realize that nothing is really happening in this film. And, indeed, most of the action is delayed until the final minutes. By the time it finally picks up, you’ve probably moved on…or worse…fallen into a deep sleep. Grade: D