WIRED SHUT (2021)
Directed by Alexander Sharp.
Written by Alexander Sharp, Peter Malone Elliott.
Starring Blake Stadel, Natalie Sharp, Behtash Fazlali
Find out more about this film here!
After an automobile crash, writer Reed Rodney (played by Blake Stadel) has his jaw broken. When his daughter Emmy (played by Natalie Sharp) arrives unexpectedly, he thinks she may be trying to reconcile their fractured relationship. But it turns out the resentment Emmy feels is deeper than Reed knows and both Emmy and Preston (played by Behtash Fazlali) plan on robbing and killing him. With his mouth wired shut, Reed is trapped in his own house and unable to call for help.
Having watched too many true crime videos on YouTube, I have seen this scenario before, so having a child plan on murdering their parent is an easy premise to buy. WIRED SHUT is a boiled down to basics thriller with all sorts of moments of strong tension and suspense. It sets up a simple and diabolical scenario and then lets the three characters simply tear each other apart. I have to admire the filmmakers for being able to pull off a small, but potent little cat and mouse game. The setting of one simple home and the plans for the crime are all laid out clearly and filmmaker Alexander Sharp makes it a ride that will surely cause knuckles to whiten.
That said, because of the simple story, it does feel like the pacing of the film is off. There are some scenes that seem to go on for a long time. The whole things leads up to a fiery climactic final battle, but the film is a bit of a trek to get there. One of the reasons this film feels uneven is because it seems they never really take advantage of the fact that Reed is unable to speak. There are plenty of scenes of Reed walking around silently, attempting to talk, but of course, being unable to. But if you look at A QUIET PLACE, which uses the same kind of silent motif, the film builds to one climactic moment where a scream is necessary in order to save the family. An attempt is made to match that dramatic moment, but it doesn’t hit its mark because that moment feels unnecessary. It feels a couple for passes to the script highlighting how to make good with the silence gag would have made this film really shine. Instead, it just kind of is by the end.
WIRED SHUT is not a bad film. Just one that has potential and doesn’t quite live up to it. The acting is strong all across the board and there’s a moment of sheer lunacy towards the end that really works where Preston (Fazlali) is screaming in blind rage right into the camera. This shouldn’t work, but it is quite chilling. There are a few other moments like that which works, but not enough as I think could have been had the concept been explored a little deeper. A mild recommend for this one.