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Shutter is a 2008 American remake of the 2004 Thai horror film of the same name. The remake was directed by Masayuki Ochiai, and was released on March 21, 2008. Ben Shaw (Joshua Jackson) and his new bride, Jane (Rachael Taylor), leave New York for Tokyo, Japan, where Ben has a job as a photographer. While traveling, Jane hits a girl wearing a thin dress in the middle of the wilderness (despite the cold and snow), running over her with both wheels and running into a ditch. After regaining consciousness, they find there was no body or even a trace of blood on either the car or the road, and they decide to leave, thinking the victim was all right. 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 mysterious haunting presence stalking them. Ben begins to complain of severe shoulder pain, and his friends begin to comment he's looking bent and hunched over, though the doctor he goes to see can find no cause.
Throughout both J- and A-horror, technology plays a role in connecting us with the dead -- whether it be something as complex as a cell phone or as simple as a camera. Shutter depends on the latter to carry its tale of a Yurei (the traditional tortured Japanese spirit with a pale complexion and dark hair) haunting a newlywed couple on their honeymoon in Japan. Of course, the spirit is rooted in the past and Jane begins to investigate her new husband Ben's earlier years. But just like every other American remake of Eastern horror, the subtext is lost in translation -- turning the Yurei into a horror gimmick rather than the thematic embodiment of a disillusioned soul. Whereas the spirits terrified in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse (2001) due to their desperation in death, their American counterpart in films the likes of Shutter do nothing but skulk around, making creepy noises and staring endlessly.
In addition to being derivative, Shutter takes forever to get rolling. Aside from an early car accident, which is the debut appearance of the Yurei, the first major 'scare' doesn't materialize until almost an hour into this 85-minute film. From there, it travels a predictable road as Jane unravels the truth behind Ben's prior Japanese relationship. Surprise, he's a scum bag.
Even more unfortunate is that Shutter has terror potential. Where new technology comes off as corny and cliché in other J- and A-horror remakes, the camera never feels like an exploited technology. In fact, the characters even revert to using a Polaroid camera as a tamper-proof spook spotter, and having a camera that produces a physical image, rather than a digital one, roots the intangible in the tangible. However, the film doesn't come close to commenting on this idea. Instead, it plods through its plot with no regard for pacing, scares, or the audience.
Shutter does, however, succeed in one aspect: It's a shining example of why remakes must stop. They are flaccid, insulting works that do nothing but steal the money out of moviegoers' pockets if they are dumb enough to give it up. While films such as The Signal and Diary of the Dead float about with limited releases and are then filed away with little fanfare on DVD, remakes suck up funding and spit in the face of horror.
The DVD includes a commentary track, about eight making-of featurettes, and deleted scenes.
That's a pic that needs framing.