Sunday 20 February 2022

REVIEW: Shut In (2022) - Starring Rainey Qualley, Jake Horowitz, Luciana VanDette and Vincent Gallo

Review by Jon Donnis
Former meth addict Jessica, (played by the fantastic Rainey Qualley) lives with her two young children, doing her best to survive with very little money, she wants to sell the family house that originally belonged to her Grandmother, so she can move away and start a new life. 

By accident she managed to lock herself in her pantry, the heavy door was wedged open on a brick, and as she is inside, it comes loose and slams shut. Despite her best efforts, and that of her young daughter, Lainey, (played by the adorable Luciana VanDette), she remains stuck inside.

Unfortunately, it is at this time that Jessica's abusive drug addict ex Rob (Jake Horowitz) decides to turn up, along with his pedophile friend Sammy (Vincent Gallo) he lets her out at first, but after an argument, he throws her back in the pantry and nails it shut. He pushes a bag of drugs under the door too in the hope she will take some and revert back to being an addict like him.

Stuck in the pantry she manages to convince Sammy to put his hand under the door, and she stabs him with a screwdriver, leaving him stuck with his hand "nailed" to the floor. With Rob off his head somewhere else she now needs to find a way to escape.

Much of the film takes place with Jessica stuck in the pantry, and her talking with her daughter to try to get the daughter to help her escape, as well as look after the baby.

The film is part home invasion, part claustrophobic thriller, and part "fighting your own inner demons".

It has been a long time since I have seen a good thriller, where the location is limited, in this it is limited to the house, with a couple of moments outside. It takes a good story, and good direction to pull this off, and Shut In has that in spades.

With a strong, believable female lead, with her strong faith, overcoming addiction, and the love of her two children to push her forward, Shut In delivers on its promise, while also showing how far you will go to protect your family.

There is a strong faith-based message in the film, but it is done in a very fair manner, without ever shoving anything down your throat. The film uses faith in a very clever manner, that allows the viewer to take from the film, what is best for them. Whether that is faith in a religion, or in family values, overcoming your demons, and so on.

Ultimately this is a film about redemption and survival, something we can all appreciate.

The Good
Perfect length at 85 minutes. A really well told story, some excellent acting, and a film that at no points tries to force anything down your throat, which is rare these days.
Just a good, old fashioned story, that is well told, and well acted.

The Bad
Perhaps predictable at times, but even that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the film.

I believe this is the first totally original film made and financed by The Daily Wire, incredible to think relative newcomers to the filmmaking genre, can knock it out of the park on the first attempt.

I score Shut In and very solid 9/10. Excellent film from top to bottom.

Written by Melanie Toast and directed by D.J. Caruso.