Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Shut In (3½ Stars)

The film begins with a tragic accident. Richard Portman leaves home with his son Steven to drive him to a boarding school. It's necessary. Steven has just been expelled from his local school, and it's a rural area with no other schools. On the way father and son argue, and the car swerves onto the wrong side of the road. Richard is killed instantly. Steven is badly injured and is left as a paraplegic, unable to move, talk or show any signs of intelligence.

Six months later Mary Portman is struggling to look after her son. She has to dress him, feed him, lift him in and out of bed; in short, she has to do everything for him. She lives in a remote house in the middle of the woods in Maine. She works as a child psychologist in a smaller house on her property. Her food and supplies are delivered by the receptionist who works for her, so she never leaves, only walking from one house to the other. Apart from her receptionist she only has contact with her patients and their parents. She also talks to a therapist by Skype.

One day a 10-year-old boy, Tom, one of her patients, turns up at her house late at night, in the middle of winter. She rings his mother and arranges to have him picked up the next day. However, Tom disappears during the night. Over the next few days Mary thinks she hears Tom in her house, but she can't find him. She thinks she's hearing a ghost, and she even doubts that he ever visited her on the first evening. Is she going mad, or is something sinister happening?

This is a neat little psychological thriller with traces of horror. It's not a masterpiece, far from it, but I can recommend it for viewing on a cold night indoors, sitting cuddled on the sofa with your partner.

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