In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

Thumb widows


McQueen’s masterful film is the kind that works on multiple levels simultaneously—as pure pulp entertainment but also as a commentary on how often it feels…

Thumb spiders web

The Girl in the Spider's Web

The cinematic equivalent of a clip-on version of the nose ring that its central character famously sports throughout—a simulacrum that tries to evoke the edge…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Primary shut in thumbs down

Brent Northup and Other Film Critics Channel Inner Ebert

On Thanksgiving Day, film critic Brent Northup at penned a review of "Shut In," giving it an F (our critic, Peter Sobczynski, didn't care for it much either). We have decided to post the complete review, in which Northup references several classic reviews written by my late husband, Roger Ebert. You can read each of them simply by clicking their titles below.—Chaz Ebert

Shut In review by Brent Northup

Roger Ebert, usually an optimistic critic who saw the good in nearly every movie, had his dark moments.


My favorite Ebert tirades?

“I hated this movie,” wrote Ebert after enduring ‘North.’ “Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it.”

“‘Mad Dog Time’ is the first movie I have seen that does not improve on the sight of a blank screen viewed for the same length of time.”

And finally, Roger wasn’t afraid to tell us what he thought - what he really, really thought - about “Spice World.”

“The Spice Girls are easier to tell apart than the Mutant Ninja Turtles, but that is small consolation: What can you say about five women whose principal distinguishing characteristic is that they have different names?”

I can’t top those bits of deathless prose, but I can say that “Shut In” is truly a turkey for Thanksgiving, likely on the bottom rung of 2016 movie fare.

I suspected the worst when I heard: “Drop the ax.” And when the final battle took place on a dock with the villain clutching a claw hammer and the heroine wielding an oar, the verdict was final.

Along the way, we met Mary, a psychologist whose husband was killed in a car accident which also paralyzed her stepson. She’s now a 24/7 caretaker for her 18-year-old immobile stepson, Stephen.

Stephen was a high maintenance boy before the accident: He was expelled from school and spewed dark venom around the home, forcing his parents to decide to send him to residential treatment. But on his way to the care facility with his dad, the accident changed family plans.

Another boy figures oddly in the story: a deeply troubled grade school patient of Mary.

So what we’ve got here is two boys, 18 and 9, and a grieving mother alone in a house which has disturbing noises at night. By the way, both boys have glaring down pat.


“But is it scary?” ask the horror fans.

“No, it is not,” replies the critic.

Most of the fright is generated with giant blasts of cacophonous noise from the soundtrack.

For the record, “Shut In” sports one of those ohmygosh M. Night Shyamalan surprise endings. Minus the ohmygosh. Minus the surprise.

Enough is enough.

Let’s close by hearing from a few other critics, who also regret giving away 90 minutes of their life -- time that they can never get back. On the day I wrote this, these reviews helped secure “Shut In” a perfect “zero” rating on Rotten Tomatoes -- not an easy feat.

“I've had bigger scares from my goldfish bowl,” wrote Rex Reed.

“It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, scads of clichés appeared on the horizon,” wrote Variety.

And let’s give the last line to Norman Wilner, of NOW Toronto. Norman channeled his inner Ebert to sum up “Shut In.”

“This is a terrible, terrible, terrible movie,” he wrote.

Bad movies sometimes beget good reading.

To view the original posting of Northup's review, click here.

Popular Blog Posts

In the '90s, Batman was at its best in Mask of the Phantasm

An appreciation of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm as its 25th anniversary approaches.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Starz's Outlander is as Immersive and Irresistible as Ever in Fourth Season

A review of the fourth season of Outlander, which premieres on Starz this Sunday, November 4.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus