Director: Masayuki Ochiai
Cast: Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor, David
Denman, James Kyson Lee, John Hensley
RunTime: 1 hr 25 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Official Website: www.shutter-movie.com
Opening Day: 27 March 2008
newly married couple discovers disturbing, ghostly images
in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. Fearing
the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and
learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.
Take it as it is. A derivative, leaden, mind-numbingly simplified
remake of a superior original. That’s not to say that
it’s genuinely decent on its own merits if you’ve
not already seen 2004’s seminal Thai-horror “Shutter”
that reignited that country’s interest in producing
slow burning, luxuriously made horror films. Interestingly,
and perhaps even fittingly, the Hollywood machine that devours
and regurgitates the recent slate of J-Horror films has turned
its sights on “Shutter”, which arguably finds
its core roots in Japan’s horror conventions in its
vengeful, waifish ghost girl tormenting the living by manifesting
through various electronic mediums. So what Masayuki Ochiai’s
adaptation essentially becomes is a carbon copy of copy.
photographer Ben Shaw (Joshua Jackson) and his blonde schoolteacher
bride Jane (Rachael Taylor) go straight from nuptials to a
working honeymoon in Japan, natch, because America just isn’t
as scary to Americans as Asia is. Before heading off to Ben’s
lucrative assignment in Tokyo, the newly minted couple heads
to a remote countryside inn when a brief accident derails
Jane’s constitution and compels her to seek out answers
led by a phantasmal presence in photographs and a newly discovered
knowledge of spirit photography.
Luke Dawson’s screenplay omits and appends details to
its basic premise. The original uses the stark disassociation
of city living to intensify the eeriness of isolation, and
the idea that we never really see what we think we know. Dawson’s
script transplants the couple to a different country, ramping
up the cultural alienation and exoticism of another culture.
It’s not dissimilar to what we’ve already seen
in “The Grudge” remakes.
as Ochiai’s direction is comparatively surefooted and
patient with the camera choosing to hang on to a scene instead
of ludicrously harping on jump-cuts and eyeball-rattling shots
that bounce off the wall, the film feels unambitiously stale.
“Shutter” goes through the motions of dourly checking
off look-behind-you set pieces and reflections on windows.
The plotting and performances are so apparent; you’d
find yourself a couple of steps ahead of the film’s
central faux-mystery. While the bizarre symbiotic relationship
audiences have with particularly mediocre remakes of Asian
horror films should still live on after this, what remains
most terrifying is how textbook simple and undemanding the
filmmaking has become for films of its ilk.
(Another unrelentingly boring ghost-in-the-machine remake
with literally the same type of weakly executed scare gags)
Review by Justin Deimen