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'Shut In' Toronto After Dark Capsule Review

October 20, 2015Ben MK

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Home Alone — and what better way to celebrate than with a terrifyingly tense foray into the home invasion sub-genre? Admittedly, that's probably not the motivation the filmmakers behind the horror-thriller Shut In (director Adam Schindler and screenwriters T.J. Cimfel and David White) had in mind. Nonetheless, if you're looking for nail-biting suspense and edge-of-your-seat chills (not to mention a light helping of gore), you've come to the right place.

Set entirely within the confines of one domestic dwelling, the movie centers on an agoraphobic young woman named Anna (Beth Riesgraf) who's been holed up with her older brother, Conrad (Timothy T. McKinney), inside their family home for the better part of the last decade, ever since the death of their father. But when Conrad also passes away, Anna is left to fend for herself, a point that's driven home with terrifying poignancy when three intruders (Martin Starr, Jack Kesy and Joshua Mikel) break in one day in search of ready cash. Instead, what they find is a house full of shocking secrets and its surprisingly strong-willed occupant, a would-be victim who turns the tables on them in the most unexpected way possible.

Curiously enough, the movie has been retitled Intruders for its wide release. However, Shut In is an infinitely more fitting title. After all, the central focus of the movie is Anna, and Riesgraf delivers a compelling and forceful performance in the lead role, painting a portrait of someone who is both fragile and courageous — both a victim and an aggressor. Anna isn't your typical horror movie heroine, not by a long shot. By that same token, Shut In isn't your typical horror movie. It's a siege thriller with a twist — a tale of survival with a mean streak and an emotional undercurrent so raw that it makes the terror on-screen feel all the more real.

Shut In received its Canadian premiere at Toronto After Dark 2015, and was preceded by director Zachary Kerrholden's short film, From Out. For these and more titles from this year's festival, visit torontoafterdark.com.

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