Shut In Blu-ray Review
Shut it off
Based on a highly-rated Black List script, Shut In gets lost in bad direction, editing, lacklustre performances and bland style.The simple premise of a child psychologist who loses her husband to a devastating car crash that also put her already disturbed teen son in a persistent vegetative state, and gets snowed-in in a secluded location with said son, as well as another troubled child, had the potential to be something of a taut psychological thriller with plenty of interesting twists and turns. Instead it appears robbed of any momentum by sloppy editing that telegraphs almost all of the plot points, and unforgivably gives away the final twist far too early in the proceedings, leaving a lacklustre final act where you just want the film to be put out of its own misery.It's only because of the aforementioned Blacklist acclaim that an actress of Naomi Watts' calibre likely got involved in the first place, although Shut In does also remain a prominent example of just how much can change between the shoot and the finished product - it's perfectly possible that, in better hands, the footage could have actually been forged into a more tense, thrilling affair with psychological cues that give you the shivers. It's possible this could have actually turned out to be the curious confluence of The Shining and We Need to Talk About Kevin that it so aspired to be. Unfortunately, it's just a mess.
Picture QualityThe technical merits of the picture are solid but the images are drab and soulless
Arrow's Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release of Shut In promotes the digitally-shot feature with a decent but far from exceptional 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. The problem is likely mostly in the 'style' of shooting, rather than the material itself, as there is some decent detail on offer, picked up most prominently on close-ups, but also lapping up the backgrounds too. Skin textures are finely tuned, clothing weaves well-reflected, and there are some nice touches, but the style is so bland, with a direction apparently oblivious to picking up beauty (a shot overlooking a gorgeous lake couldn't look more lifeless), that you can't help but groan. It doesn't help that darker sequences appear to struggle to maintain detail levels, and even some daytime shots appear to sympathise with this, and also drop into a softer look. Drab and soulless, whilst the technical merits are solid, there's nothing worthy of merit in the actual visuals themselves.
Sound QualityDespite impressive specs, there's nothing approaching demo quality here
Whilst the sound design of Shut In allows for some striking 'shock' moments (even if they're not in the least bit surprising), which benefit from a weight of LFE input, and make the most of the surrounds, it's all punch with little precision, and with little tangible atmosphere when things aren't in 'full tension' mode. The UK release upgrades the US's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track in favour of a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, but Shut In's audio track seldom puts you in the thick of things, remaining a backseat driver in this sorry affair, and struggling, despite the impressive technical specs, to deliver anything approaching demo material.
Blu-ray VerdictUnfortunately, the finished film is just a mess
Shut In disappoints on all levels, and that doesn't really stop on the Blu-ray either. The UK Region B-locked release from Arrow, despite its best efforts, can't do much with the drab visuals and even the soundtrack - upgraded from the US release, hasn't got much to work with beyond clumsy shock tactics. Worse still, the paltry extras on the US release are dropped for a bare bones disc that doesn't even offer subtitles. Those curious should consider this best served by waiting until it pops up on a streaming provider.
You can buy Shut In on Blu-ray here
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.99
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