WIRED SHUT (2021)
Directed by Alexander Sharp
After an accident has left him with his mouth wired shut in order to recover, accomplished author Reed Rooney is not only quietly struggling with his health but also with his latest novel. The arrival of his estranged daughter Em interrupts his writer’s block and provides a chance for him to build some sort of bridge with her before she jets off to England to study in London. However, her impromptu arrival isn’t simply to heal a strained relationship with her father, as Em has something else on her mind.
Despite being promoted as a slasher film, WIRED SHUT is instead a slow-burn thriller that explores the idea that blood may not always be thicker than water. Focusing in on the father-daughter dynamic, their relationship is truly put to the test when they have to fight for their very lives.
Thrillers can be quite an exciting genre of film when done right. The tension and buildup can keep you on the edge of your seat til the pay off but unfortunately WIRED SHUT is not one of these films. Lacking tension and featuring a villainous character who’s more laughable than threatening, the movie struggles to incite any sort of fear or concern in the viewer. This doesn’t help when the lead character you’re meant to empathise with has no personality whatsoever with little to no character development.
However, the main problem with WIRED SHUT is that it takes forever to get moving and when it does, it’s underwhelming. I was about an hour into the movie before anything remotely interesting happened, with events prior containing little other than a few muffled words, some pen scribbles as main character Reed attempts to communicate with his daughter Em, and Em having hissy fits at her father. It’s clear the relationship between the two isn’t great, with Reed knowing that he’s not been there for his daughter. We don’t get much background on his family life outside of little glimpses and interactions, and the couple of messages from Em’s mother stresses how much disappointment and anger Reed has caused for his ex and his daughter. Unfortunately, none of this actually makes you care about either set of characters with little development in the story. Even when the movie has the opportunity to to ramp it up and inject some life into the story, it fails to make any sort of real impact due to the disconnection between the characters and the viewer. Because of this, I found it very difficult to focus on the movie and kept clock watching which is not something you really want from a thriller that’s meant to grip you and thrust you into its world.
Another issue I had with the film impacted my experience from the start. I understand Reed Rooney is meant to be recovering and thus is unable to talk, but the audio mix on WIRED SHUT forced me to pump up the volume to the max to even hear what was said between the characters that do talk in the film. The entire thing, from tiny subtitles and close-ups of text conversations to the muffled, quiet audio meant I had to strain my eyes and ears in order to keep up with the story.
All in all, my experience with WIRED SHUT is an unfavourable one as it never seems to leave the starting block.