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The First Original Film from The Daily Wire Involves Some, Uh, Interesting Characters

By Dustin Rowles | Film | February 3, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | February 3, 2022 |


The Daily Wire, the conservative news website founded by Ben Shapiro, is trash. But it’s popular trash (it’s the leading publisher on Facebook because, you know, Facebook is muzzling conservatives!). If you don’t follow politics or Facebook closely (bless you), you may know The Daily Wire best as the outlet that decided to cast Gina Carano in one of their films after she was “canceled.” That film is called Terror on the Prairie and is expected to come out early this year.

In fact, a trailer for Terror on the Prairie will be attached to The Daily Wire’s forthcoming film, Shut In. Shut In is the first original film from The Daily Wire and the second film distributed by outlet after Run Hide Fight, which was an acquisition. That film was about a school shooting, described as Die Hard set in a school, and it involved a character played by Isabel May (1883) taking down a school shooter from the inside. David Ehrlich over on IndieWire called it “a glib, artless, and reprehensibly stupid thriller that doesn’t even have enough on its mind to be provocative,” which sounds about right for a movie from director Kyle Rankin, who some may remember as the winner of the second season of Project Greenlight and director of the winning entry, Battle of Shaker Heights.

It’s also worth noting that Run Hide Fight was produced by Cinestate, and one of its producers, Adam Donaghey, was arrested two years ago for allegedly raping a 16-year-old. Dallas Sonnier and Amanda Presmyk — the top producers at Cinestate — were accused of turning a blind eye to Donaghey’s history of sexual assault. After those allegations surfaced, the movie websites Birth.Movies.Death. and Fangoria Magazine — owned by Cinestate — sought new owners. (Fangoria secured new ownership, but Birth.Movies.Death is now defunct).

I mention all of this to put some context to the bedfellows of The Daily Wire in the film space, especially since Dallas Sonnier and Amanda Presmyk — the producers accused of turning a blind eye to the abuse of a person labeled the Harvey Weinstein of Dallas — are also producers of Shut In along with Ben Shapiro. Cinestate, meanwhile, shuttered after the Donaghey scandal, and Sonnier resurrected it and rebranded that company as Bonfire Legend, which now works in partnership with The Daily Wire, because that’s the only place who’d work with them.

Shut In, the first original film from that partnership, is based on a Black List script from Melanie Toast that Jason Bateman had at one point been attached. That project fell apart and came back together under director D.J. Caruso, who had a breakout hit in 2007 with Shia LaBeouf’s Disturbia before a series of box-office failures led him to Shut In, which stars Rainey Qualley (sister of Margaret, daughter of Andie MacDowell) and Vincent Gallo, who you may recall directed Brown Bunny, which contained a scene in which Chloe Sevigny performed unsimulated oral sex upon Gallo and was called by Roger Ebert the worst movie he’d ever seen at Cannes. Gallo hasn’t appeared in a film since 2013, what with his history of racist and anti-semitic statements (he is also a supporter of Donald Trump).

So, you see who we’re working with, eh? The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro, Dallas Sonnier, and Vincent Gallo.

Qualley plays a mother of two who is held captive and must escape her violent ex with her two children. Shut In will appear, for free, on February 10th on YouTube for one night before being available to only The Daily Wire subscribers. The trailer, admittedly, does not look terrible if you like indie horror flicks (I do), although I would expect a certain level of nihilism based on Dallas Sonnier’s track record (Dragged Across Concrete, Brawl in Cell Block 99). Then again, watching it would also mean supporting Ben Shapiro, Dallas Sonnier, and Vincent Gallo, which is probably the whole point for subscribers to The Daily Wire, who would gleefully support anyone who was “canceled,” regardless of the reasons behind their cancellation.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: The Daily Wire