Logo for thriller Shut In on DStv

Naomi Watts, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay

In this psychological thriller, Mary Portman is a widowed child psychologist who lives in isolation in rural Maine. The horrific car accident that killed her husband also left her 18-year-old stepson Stephen in a bedridden, catatonic state – and completely dependent on her.

 

After the terrible tragedy, she is consumed by feelings of loneliness, grief and responsibility. Finding herself unable to leave the house, she continues to counsel children and adolescents from home.

 

She is upset to learn that one of her patients, a hearing-impaired child named Tom, is to be transferred to a school in Boston. One day, she finds Tom asleep in her car. She brings him inside and makes a call, but Tom vanishes. The police conduct a search, but Tom is nowhere to be found. Over the following nights, Mary wakes up to mysterious sounds in the house – and an ice storm arrives which will cut her and Stephen off from the rest of the world.

 

Young star Jacob Tremblay, who shot to fame in awards season darling The Room, stars as Tom in Shut In. Asked about the film’s plot, he summed it up in the vaguest possible terms, so as not to give anything away. “I don't want to spoil it for you, so there isn't going to be that much detail. But, it's about a woman, and her child. And, another child named Stephen, and he's in a wheelchair. And then, scary stuff happens. And then they got isolated in their house. And then, pretty scary stuff happens. And something happens to me”.

 

Charlie Heaton (known primarily for playing Jonathan Byers in Netflix’s Stranger Things) plays bedridden Stephen in Shut In – his first feature film role. At the time, I hadn’t really done any acting, and I was auditioning for a lot of movies. Then this one came in, and they said, ‘We’re looking for an actor to fill the role, and we’re almost closing’,” he says. “I actually ended up getting it about two weeks before we went into production. So this was just a case where I read the script, and I was fascinated by it. I thought it was a real page turner. When I was reading it, it had a ‘The Shining’-type of feeling. It also felt like a Hitchcock movie that’s based on the characters. Obviously, since I was playing a character who’s in a vegetative state, we couldn’t physicalize him. So it was almost like playing nothing, which was very intriguing to me’.

 

Working with Watts and Heaton was fun for young Jacob Tremblay. “It was really cool. I was really excited to work with Naomi, because she was in the movie King Kong. And that's my favorite movie, it's a really cool movie. So, I was really excited to meet her. She's really nice and awesome,” he says. “Stranger Things is, like, my favourite TV show now. And it was so cool, because I didn't even know he was in it! And then I saw it, and I was like, ‘Hey, I know that guy!’”.

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