Episode dated 16 April 2007 (2007)
N/A|N/A|16 Apr 2007
Rating: Metascore: N/A

Shut in is a thriller drama film directed by thriller specialist D.J. Caruso. Caruso, we know, used to produce popular thriller films, Eagle Eye and Disturbia. This film stars unknown names, Rainey Qualley, Jake Horowitz, Luciana VanDette, and Vincent Gallo. Minimalist thriller films are currently trending due to the pandemic situation. Shut in unexpectedly presents an impressive side of drama and thriller.

That day, Jessica (Qualley) will move to the city from her mother’s house with her two young children. This house is isolated from the settlement between the apple plantations owned by his mother. The troublemaker’s husband, Rob (Horowitz), suddenly arrives, and a verbal altercation culminates in Rob buttoning Jessica in the small shed in the house. Lainey (VanDette), the daughter, and her baby were abandoned. This situation makes the mother and daughter have to work together unnaturally so that Jessica can get out of there and, at the same time, the baby is not neglected. It’s not until her husband’s colleague, Sammy (Gallo), the pedophile, arrives to target his little daughter.

The minimalist concept always makes a passionate spectacle. Now, what else will be offered? Unexpectedly, the narrative achievement combined with this film’s setting is a real surprise. Caruso is no stranger to this concept through Disturbia; he is pushing it even further. About 70% of the duration of the plot only focuses on the mother in a narrow room. The camera never left Jessica’s figure, so we could only hear voices outside the warehouse without ever knowing what was happening outside. Of course, this creates a side of extraordinary tension in many of its moments. The brilliant script can maintain the intensity of the pressure very nicely throughout the film. Meanwhile, in other moments, the warmth is formed from inappropriate communication between mother and daughter, such as when the baby needs to change a diaper or drink milk.

Another aspect that grabs attention is the chemistry between the daughter and the mother. Since the opening, the little girl, Luciana VanDette, played very well and naturally. Even the mother, played by Rainey Qualley. In the beginning, there seems to be a thin line that makes the mother unable to escape the pressure of her situation so that she doesn’t care about her daughter. However, when he was buttoned and unable to communicate directly, their chemistry turned warmer. It’s rare to have this kind of achievement. Then, the subtext and spiritual relationship make this film a rare achievement.

Carrying the trending minimalist concept, Shut in raises the level of this subgenre even further through a combination of thriller, family, and even spiritual subtext. From the beginning, apples have played an important role in the plot. As we know, the apple is a symbol of “sin,” including the meaning of good and bad contained in it. The mother who ate the rotten apple seemed to be thrown into “hell” to understand the importance and appreciate life. Literal symbols, a book, and a cross emphasize the context. Sometimes, we go far to find happiness or even God, even though what we are looking for so far is very close, with a very simple solution. What a movie.

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A lifelong cinephile, he cultivated a deep interest in film from a young age. Following his architectural studies, he embarked on an independent exploration of film theory and history. His passion for cinema manifested in 2006 when he began writing articles and film reviews. This extensive experience subsequently led him to a teaching position at the esteemed Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta. From 2003 to 2019, he enriched the minds of students by instructing them in Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory. His scholarly pursuits extended beyond the classroom. In 2008, he published his seminal work, "Understanding Film," which delves into the core elements of film, both narrative and cinematic. The book's enduring value is evidenced by its second edition, released in 2018, which has become a cornerstone reference for film and communication academics across Indonesia. His contributions extend beyond his own authorship. He actively participated in the compilation of the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Volumes 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Further solidifying his expertise, he authored both "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). His passion for film extends to the present day. He continues to provide insightful critiques of contemporary films on montasefilm.com, while actively participating in film production endeavors with the Montase Film Community. His own short films have garnered critical acclaim at numerous festivals, both domestically and internationally. Recognizing his exceptional talent, the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival shortlisted his writing for Best Film Criticism (Top 15). His dedication to the field continues, as he currently serves as a practitioner-lecturer for Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts' Independent Practitioner Program.


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