This wannabe thriller begins in rural Maine as Mary Portman (Naomi Watts) bids farewell to her incorrigible teenage stepson, Stephen (Charlie Heaton), who is being banished to a boarding school. En route, as Stephen scuffles with his father, a horrific car crash ensues. The father dies and Stephen emerges totally paralyzed and catatonic. Now-widowed Mary, who works out of her home as a child psychologist, becomes Stephen’s sole caregiver. By nature, she’s a nurturer, so it’s not surprising that she becomes attached to Tom (Jacob Tremblay from “Room”), a deaf youngster who has become violent with his playmates. Read on…
“I can help him,” Mary insists. “These things take time.”
But Tom’s social worker thinks he belongs in a more restrictive care facility.
Then, one dark and stormy night, troubled Tom appears on her doorstep, only to disappear again into the deep snow. As the search for Tom continues, tormented Mary begins to hear strange noises in the creaky, old house.
Via Skype, she confides her increasing concern her therapist, Dr. Wilson (Oliver Platt). He suspects she’s suffering from parasomnia because her normal sleep patterns have been disrupted and orders a blood test before prescribing an anti-depressant.
In the meantime, lonely Mary finds a suitor (David Cubitt), the father of another of her patients.
Amateurishly scripted by Christina Hodson, the illogical story not only strains credibility, it’s also laughable. And it doesn’t help that British TV director Farren Blackburn (“Doctor Who,” “Daredevil”) maintains a plodding pace. There’s little suspense, only some occasional jump scares.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Shut In” is a tedious 2 – a total waste of time and talent.