Film review by Thomas M. Sipos




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Shutter (2008, dir: Masayuki Ochiai; script: Luke Dawson; cast: Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor, Megumi Okina, David Denman, John Hensley, Maya Kazen, James Kyson, Yoshiko Miyazaki)





I don't see how any hardcore horror fan could not have seen every plot point coming.

This may contain spoilers, but not really, since it's all predictable.

Shutter begins with a young couple running over a woman (Megumi Okina of Ju-on). I assumed right off that bat that the car victim was a ghost. Minutes later, they can't find the body. At this point, every viewer should know for certain that it was a ghost.

Yet the film spends about an hour, with "spooky" happenings while the wife investigates, before we "learn" that -- the car victim was already dead! -- she must have been a ghost!!!

It was also obvious to me, way early one, that the ghost had met with foul play -- at the hands of the husband and his friends. And sure enough, the final "twist" is that the wife learns that hubby helped rape the woman and drove her to suicide.

Shutter's marketing brags that this film is "From the Executive Producers or The Grudge and The Ring."

But what made The Ring remake so great was that it turned ghost conventions on its head. Normally, the ghost stops its hauntings once mortals finds its corpse or learns its secrets. That, quite unexpectedly, did not happen in The Ring. Samara's corpse and secrets were found -- but the haunted continued.

By contrast, Shutter recycles old school ghost story conventions, falling far short of The Ring in many areas.

Shutter does have some nice cinematography (albeit stylistically derivative from The Grudge). Its production values are competent. Even so, the film is so unoriginal, with such uninteresting characters (not likable or unlikable, just uninteresting), that my mind kept wandering.


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