Follow TV Tropes


Film / Shut In

Go To

Shut In is a 2016 horror/thriller film directed by Farren Blackburn of Daredevil (2015) fame, starring Naomi Watts.

Mary Portman (Watts) is a widowed child psychologist living alone with her paralyzed stepson Stephen (Charlie Heaton) in rural Maine. She has to deal with the trauma of the car accident that killed her husband and paralyzed Stephen with the help of her psychologist friend Dr. Wilson (Oliver Platt).

When a deaf young boy named Tom (Jacob Tremblay) stays with them for a while before mysteriously vanishing, Mary has to survive an approaching winter storm while trying to find him. On top of that, strange events occur which seem to indicate that there is someone (or something) else in the house that wishes them harm, and Mary must fight to stay sane…

No relation to Intruders which was also released as Shut In.


Shut In provides examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: At one point, Mary appears to drown Stephen for some unexplained reason. However, it then cuts to her waking up, revealing it to be a dream.
  • Cat Scare: More like "Raccoon Scare". At one point, a raccoon jumps out and scares Mary, complete with Scare Chord.
  • Cute Mute: Tom is a deaf little boy who is silent for the entire film.
  • Death Glare: Stephen gives Mary a chilling one at the start of the film as he’s leaving for boarding school.
  • Disappeared Dad: Stephen's father, who dies at the beginning of the film.
  • Downer Beginning: The film's prologue ends with a car accident that kills Stephen's father and supposedly paralyzes Stephen.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The film cuts away right before the car that Stephen and his dad are in impacts with the truck in the prologue.
  • Advertisement:
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Stephen has secretly been in love with his stepmother, and he gets jealous when she shows concern for Tom.
  • Happier Home Movie: The film begins with Mary watching old videos of Stephen in happier times.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • A pretty spectacular case. Somehow, neither Mary nor any of Stephen's doctors have noticed that he has been faking his paralysis over the course of several months.
    • A smaller one: Mary tries to calm down Stephen (who is clearly insane) by telling him that he's a good boy, despite being a psychologist. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't work.
  • Jump Scare: The film has a lot of these. A particularly egregious one is the Cat Scare mentioned above.
  • Missing Mom: Tom’s mother died shortly before the events of the movie begin.
    • It’s never mentioned what happened to Stephen’s biological mother, as Mary raised him from a young age.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Stephen wasn't really paralyzed in the car accident; he was faking being disabled so he could keep Mary isolated without her realizing it was him.
  • Off to Boarding School: Stephen was being taken to boarding school by his father to deal with increasing behavioral issues when they got into the accident that killed the dad and left Stephen apparently wheelchair-bound.
  • Parental Abandonment: Stephen’s biological mother is never mentioned, having disappeared/died when Stephen was young, and his dad died in the same car accident that supposedly paralysed Stephen himself, leaving his stepmom Mary to raise him all by herself.
  • Product Placement: Dr. Wilson is shown to be using an iMac and a MacBook in his Skype sessions with Mary, with the Apple logo prominently displayed in several shots.
  • The Reveal: In the film's third act, it's revealed that Stephen has been faking his paralysis the whole time, and he's the one who trapped Tom in the house and has been drugging Mary throughout the film.
  • Sanity Slippage: Mary has to deal with this throughout the film, as she soon starts seeing strange things in her house.
    • Implied with Stephen by the film’s climax, due to a combination of behavioral issues and his twisted crush on his stepmother.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Stephen has been drugging his mother the whole time, which was the cause of her strange visions.
  • Snowed-In: The film's premise revolves around Mary and Stephen being trapped in the house by the winter storm and having to survive it.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Stephen. He will do anything to have his stepmother all to himself, including trapping Tom (a child) in the house.
  • Time Skip: The bulk of the film occurs six months after the prologue.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailers set this up to look like a paranormal horror movie.