Shutter – USA, 2008 – overview and reviews

 

‘She never leaves you’

Shutter is a 2008 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Masayuki Ochiai (Ju-on: The Final Curse; Infection; Parasite Eve) from a screenplay written by Luke Dawson (The Lazarus Effect); it stars Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor, and Megumi Okina.

The film is a remake of the 2004 Thai horror film of the same name.

Plot:

Ben Shaw (Joshua Jackson) and his new bride, Jane (Rachael Taylor), leave New York City for Tokyo, Japan, where Ben has a job as a photographer.

While travelling by car in the wilderness of the countryside, Jane accidentally hits a girl standing in the middle of the road and ends up running over her. The police are called but can not find a body or even a trace of blood and the bemused couple leave…

They later start to find mysterious lights in their photos, which are later identified as spirit photography by Ben’s assistant, Seiko Nakamura (Maya Hazen). Jane begins to have eerie dreams and visions as if they are trying to tell her something and senses a haunting presence stalking them…

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“It is difficult, to say the least, to fear an antagonist who you know is justified. In fact, after you realize what jerks Ben and his pals are, you’ll probably end up cheering for the ghost, even as Jane does her best Naomi Watts impression. All in all, avoid this film if you can.” Dorkgasm

” …a tedious, flat movie. The use of the Tokyo locations helps the film, and the final twist at the end is quite creative, but the lack of any creepiness or scares negates any point of seeking out this film.” DVD Sleuth

Shutter is smoothly and effectively directed, yet everything is always where one most expects it, rather undermining any real sense of fear. What starts off as a creepy soundtrack quickly becomes intrusive and then just annoying. And worst of all, there are moments when it’s hard not to laugh…” Eye for Film

“Taylor’s over-the-top reaction when Jane sees an apparition is giggle-inducing, and that’s not the only instance when titters will be heard. Those in search of a cheap scare will be disappointed; the few “boo!” moments attempted by Japanese director Masayuki Ochiai are weakly executed.” Reel Views

“The score is creepy and hits all the right notes at all the right moments and the lead performances from Joshua Jackson and Rachel Taylor are fine. Shutter is a well made and moderately enjoyable thriller from start to finish – it’s just that it’s missing the originality, both culturally and stylistically, that made the film it’s based on so effective.” Rock! Shock! Pop!

“Genre fans will recognize the influences, notably Peter Straub’s Ghost Story (1981), and ten years worth of J-horror cliches. But Ochiai directs with calm assurance — no eyeball-rattling quick cuts here — and Dawson’s screenplay preserves most of the original script’s strengths and fixes a couple of weaknesses…” TV Guide

“It’s the typical watered-down supernatural thrills you’d expect from this hybrid American/Japanese flick and when you’re not busy yawning, you’ll be having a hard time getting much of anything from this.” The Video Graveyard

Cast and characters:

  • Joshua Jackson as Benjamin “Ben” Shaw – Cursed; Urban Legend; Scream 2
  • Rachael Taylor as Jane Shaw – The Darkest Hour; Ghost Machine; See No Evil; Man-Thing
  • Megumi Okina as Megumi Tanaka
  • John Hensley as Adam
  • David Denman as Bruno
  • James Kyson Lee as Ritsuo
  • Daisy Betts as Natasha
  • Maya Hazen as Seiko Nakamura
  • Yoshiko Miyazaki as Akiko
  • Kei Yamamoto as Murase

Box office:

Shutter took $47,879,410 theatrically against a reported budget of $8 million.

Home release:

In the US, Shutter was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 15, 2008. The Unrated Edition runs five minutes longer and includes commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending.

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