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Shutter (Widescreen) (Unrated Edition) (2008)

A movie directed by Masayuki Ochiai

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Not Quite In Focus

  • Aug 2, 2008
Yes, I am well aware that "Shutter" is just one more ingredient in a seemingly endless Westernized stew of Asian horror remakes. I'm also aware that it features Joshua Jackson, one of the most boring actors to ever grace a screen. With that said, though, I have to admit that I enjoyed it.

Director Masayuki Ochiai takes the basic elements of Asian horror (lack of special effects, excellent use of lighting, downright creepy-looking people to portray ghosts) and utilizes them quite well. The only thing missing is a creepy sound here and there.

Rachael Taylor ("Transformers") plays Jane Shaw, the heroine of the film who is trying to figure out who she and her husband, Benjamin (Jackson, Pacey from "Dawson's Creek") hit with their car while on their honeymoon. By the time that police arrive on the scene and the couple has regained consciousness, the girl they hit has vanished.

Also, strange lights and blurs begin to show up in their honeymoon photos. When Benjamin takes a photography job in Tokyo with his buddies, things get even more bizarre. His professional photos begin to experience the same fate as the honeymoon pics. Jane begins to see the lady she hit all over the place. An assistant of Benjamin tells Jane that what they captured in their pics are actually spirits trying to communicate with them. From there, the story falls into generic Asian horror mode and concludes in much the same fashion.

As already mentioned, token effects of Asian horror are used to an excellent degree. One particular sequence involving a flashbulb in a darkened room uses the lighting perfectly. There's also a general creepy feel about the whole film.

The performances of the actors and actresses are mixed. All are hampered by flat dialogue, but despite this, Jackson and Taylor do pretty decent jobs. The poorest performance of the film comes via John Hensley as a pompous agent. He doesn't look the part nor does he act it very well either. Megumi Okina gives a solid performance as Megumi Tanaka, the ghost in this tale.

Telling you who the true villian(s) is might be considered a spoiler by some, but it's pretty obvious who the baddie is from the beginning. That's sort of what makes this film appeal to me. It's so obvious who the bad person is that you don't have to spend any time trying to figure it out. You get to watch everything the ghost does with the satisfaction of knowing that she's going to give it to whoever deserves it in the end. The only unknown factor is "why" she's after this person.

The DVD comes with an interesting look at Asian beliefs on supernatural phenomena. It also explains that a lot of the religious aspects of the original film were left out so as not to confuse Western audiences. There's also a look into spirit photography and a very dull and generic "Ghost Hunting" tutorial.

Overall, "Shutter" isn't the most terrible film in the world. You can't call it original since it's a remake, but you can give it a nod for being reasonably creepy. I've personally not been very impressed by the bulk of the remakes or the original Asian films they are based on that Hollywood seems so enthralled with at the moment. I just wish that somebody would come up with an original idea that's genuinely scary.

Recommended as a rental only.

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More Shutter reviews
review by . March 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
* out of ****     ome people tend to hate remakes of films because...well, because they are remakes. Usually, these films are remaking RESPECTED films, or perhaps not. "Shutter" was a horror film that I respected. It was released somewhere around 2004, and I saw it a while ago. I liked it; it was admirable, fun, and scary at times. But here we have the 2008 remake, which turns out to be a flaming pile of crap. The sad thing about this horror remake is that it mimics the plot …
review by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      SHUTTER      This is another American remake of a film that was much better and came from another country. This time around it is based on the Thai film I do believe and much like the rest of the American remakes this one is not as good as the original. In fact if it was not for the ending this one would be really lacking because it just felt like, I don't know. I just did not get into this one as much as others and found it to be just your average …
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Kendall Fontenot ()
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Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie


Based on a 2004 Thai horror flick, this surprisingly effective Hollywood remake is actually set in Tokyo. That's where newlywed hubby Joshua Jackson has taken bride Rachael Taylor (Transformers) for an ill-advised honeymoon. They hit a woman standing in the middle of a spooky road, after which all sorts of ghosts seem to emerge from Jackson's camera (he's come to Japan for a fashion-photography gig). Can our plucky heroine, a fish out of water in a confusing city, find the answer to this haunted puzzle? Well, yes, but she won't like what she finds.Shutteris distinguished by director Mayasuki Ochiai's compositional eye, which favors the empty, creeped-out spaces in which ghosts might dwell. The movie also gets into the phenomenon of "spirit photography," which suggests that the dear departed make their presence known as white flashes in snapshots. That stuff's kind of fun; unfortunately, Ochiai's ear for dialogue is as clunky as his eye is sharp, and Jackson and Taylor are saddled with some truly unfortunate exposition. The actors don't leave much of an impression either, although Megumi Okina (leading lady ofJu-on: The Grudge) is sufficiently spooky as a woman who will not be ignored.--Robert Horton
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Director: Masayuki Ochiai
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2008
Runtime: 85 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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