Shutter (2008) Poster

Shutter (2008)

  • Rate: 4.9/10 total 14,457 votes 
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
  • Release Date: 21 March 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: 85 min | USA:90 min (unrated version)
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Shutter (2008)


Shutter 2008tt0482599.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Shutter (2008)
  • Rate: 4.9/10 total 14,457 votes 
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
  • Release Date: 21 March 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: 85 min | USA:90 min (unrated version)
  • Filming Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Gross: $47,879,410(worldwide)(4 March 2012)
  • Director: Masayuki Ochiai
  • Stars: Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor and James Kyson
  • Original Music By: Nathan Barr   
  • Soundtrack: Do Something
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital | DTS
  • Plot Keyword: Japan | Photographer | Newlywed | Car Accident | Photograph

Writing Credits By:

  • Luke Dawson (screenplay)
  • Banjong Pisanthanakun (2004 movie) uncredited &
  • Sopon Sukdapisit (2004 movie) uncredited &
  • Parkpoom Wongpoom (2004 movie) uncredited

Known Trivia

  • Not screened for critics.
  • DVD commentary is done by Luke Dawson (screenplay), Alex Sundell (production executive) and Rachael Taylor.

Goofs: Factual errors: While in the honeymoon cabin, the camera Ben is using is clearly a medium format camera. Later however, when they are looking at the pictures Seiko dropped off, the negatives attached to the envelope are 35mm negatives.

Plot: A 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. Full summary »  »

Story: A newlywed couple Ben and Jane move to Japan for a promising job opportunity – a fashion shoot in Tokyo. During their trip on a dark forest road they experience a tragic car accident, leading to the death of a young local girl. Upon regaining consciousness, they find no trace of her body. A bit distraught the couple arrives in Tokyo to begin their new life. Meanwhile Ben begins noticing strange white blurs in many of his fashion shoot photographs. Jane believes that the blurs are actually spirit photography of the dead girl who they hit on the road, and that she may be seeking vengeance.Written by Brian Corder  


Synopsis: Shutter tells the story of photographer Ben (Joshua Jackson) and his new wife Jane (Rachael Taylor). The film begins with the couple’s wedding, and the audience learns that they are planning to leave their apartment in Brooklyn for Japan, where Ben has been hired to take pictures for a particular client. The couple has made the decision to leave for Japan a few days early, renting a cabin so they can enjoy a shorter honeymoon. In the car on the way to the cabin, Jane gets lost and asks a sleeping Ben to check the map. While attempting to get their bearings, Jane sees a girl walk into the road. She hits the girl, and swerves off the road, crashing the car into a tree. They both fall unconscious. When she awakens, Jane realizes the girl could very well still be laying in the road, and rushes out of the car to find her, Ben on her heels. They find nothing, and Ben thinks that the girl was already found and has gotten the medical help that she would need. He also thinks the injuries weren’t life-threatening, as they cannot find any blood or evidence of a collision and wants to call for help. Later, help does arrive for them, and they are able to continue with their travel to the cabin, but Jane is haunted by the image of the girl. Ben’s shoulder is bothering him, since the accident. Jane tells him he needs to get it checked out. Ben chooses to ignore it, and at the cabin, they are able to enjoy a few day long honeymoon, and Ben wants to take pictures to record the event.

Days later, Ben has to report for work with his friend Bruno (David Denman) Jane accompanies him but is somewhat left to her own devices as Ben needs to meet with the clients right away. We learn that Ben is fluent in Japanese, while Jane is not. Later, the pair are taken to their home, a building of which they are the solo occupants, and also the home of Ben’s photography studio. Jane notices an alcove where an old chair sits, and the image sticks with her. After meeting Ben’s assistant Seiko (Maya Hazen), Jane again is left to her own devices while Ben works. She eventually gets the photos from the honeymoon, which are full of a mysterious light, and in showing the photos to Ben, makes the realization that something is off with them. Ben simply assumes there was an error with the camera. Seiko mentions that the light is not from a camera error, but from spirit energy. Interested, Jane asks how she knows what the light is, to which Seiko responds that her ex-boyfriend runs a spirit photography magazine. She insists that Jane meet her ex the next day after work, and Ben, hearing that the girls have made plans to go out, jokes that "the girls have a date". That night, Ben, Jane, Bruno, his date and Adam (John Hensley) go out to a traditional Japanese restaurant. Here we learn that Adam is a model agent, but that his motives may not be in the best interest for the models.

The next day, Jane heads with Seiko to see the spirit photography magazine Seiko’s ex Yoko (Eri Otoguro). While there, Jane learns that the magazine is mostly full of fake photographs, but that 1) a Polaroid picture cannot be faked and 2) a psychic named Murase (Kei Yamamoto) was written up by the magazine for his efforts in analyzing the photos. Later, Jane tells Ben about her visit and asks him to go with her. Ben’s shoulder continues to bother him, and he goes to the doctor. While there, he is weighed a couple of times, and the doctor tells him that there is no source of injury, but that he will give him some medicine for the pain. Rattled himself by the presence of the light in some of his work photos which have landed him in hot water with the client and a random encounter with ‘someone’ in the darkroom, he agrees to travel with Jane to visit Murase.

Once at the home of Murase, Jane and Ben show him the photos and tell him that there was an accident and they believe this spirit may be that of the girl Jane hit. Ben serves as translator between the two. Murase takes the photos and begins to speak very emotionally, but Ben does not translate all of what he says, and tells her they are leaving. Ben does tell her that spirits bond with humans when extreme emotions (love, hate, anger, etc) are involved.

Jane later looks at the photos of the project that were ruined by the light, and decides to go visit the office building in the photo that the light seems to be around. Armed with a borrowed Polaroid camera from Ben’s studio, she heads to the building to take pictures and see if she finds any proof of the spirit’s presence in the building. When she gets there, she goes to the floor where the light has gathered, and takes pictures in the empty office. She has her first encounter, and learns the girl’s name Megumi Okina through a picture frame that falls on the ground and shatters. Megumi is in the photo and when looking at it, Jane learns that her husband Ben took the photograph.

When she confronts Ben about it, he admits that he and Megumi were involved in a relationship, but that she became obsessive and clingy, despite the fact that her traditional Japanese family did not approve of the pair. If anything, the disapproval made Megumi even more clingy to Ben, who was trying his hardest to balance work and his blossoming relationship. Megumi’s father, the main person who did not approve of the pair, dies, and Megumi becomes obsessive and even at one point becomes suicidal. Realizing this is too much for him to handle, Ben quits Megumi. Ben, admitting that he never loved her, gets Adam and Bruno to speak to her about the fact that the relationship is over and that she needs to stop following him around. Jane is upset with that, but decides they have to find Megumi. Ben talks to Bruno, who says that he recently saw Megumi on the street, she was pointing at him.

Adam is at his photography studio taking pictures of a prospective model, an Australian hostess that he mentioned at the dinner. He asks her to take off her clothing, except her underwear, and goes to get his camera from a box full of scantily-clad women. We get the impression that his motives at this point are not good at all. He begins taking pictures and starts seeing Megumi through the camera lens. He keeps stopping taking pictures, which begins to irritate the model. He is ready to take another picture, and the next thing we see is that the camera lens has shattered in his eye.

Meanwhile, Ben and Jane are at Megumi’s home looking for evidence of her location. They find her, seemingly having been dead for a long time, as flies and decay have began, along with bottles of potassium cyanide strewn along the floor. They are still in shock over this discovery when Ben receives a call from Bruno about Adam’s accident. Ben says that they will meet Bruno at the hospital.

After being at the hospital for a while and Bruno does not turn up, Ben calls his cellphone in an effort to find out when he’ll get there. Bruno answers but does not say anything, and as the camera pans out, the audience sees that he is slicing up photographs (into shapes of origami) with a razor blade and his hands are all bloody. Ben tells Bruno’s voicemail that they desperately need him at the hospital because Adam didn’t make it. Ben and Jane leave the hospital and head to Bruno’s home to see if he is there.

When they arrive, they find all his picture frames are still on the walls, but the photos are all cut up on the table, and that the television is loud and blaring. Ben begins to look around for him, while Jane examines the photos on the table. She sees Bruno standing at the end of the hall, and it appears he is charging at her. Ben calls out to him, and Bruno runs past Jane (who dives out of the way) and jumps off the balcony of his high-rise and goes crashing onto the concrete. He is dead. Ben is visibly distraught.

Ben and Jane have decided to return to New York at this point, when in a voiceover, Ben says that Megumi’s funeral will be in a few days, she will be cremated, and after the service, they can return home. When they return home to pack things, Jane opens a Fed-Ex that she has received containing photos of their wedding, and Jane makes the statement, "we aren’t going anywhere". Megumi is present in their wedding photos. They decide to leave the apartment and go to a hotel to spend the night.

That night, Ben is haunted by images of Megumi in the room, her brushing her hair, her looking at him, her sitting on the floor, her initiating sex with him…all while Jane sleeps. He is very upset and somewhat frantic, and the ghost of Megumi confronts him with a kiss, and Jane wakes to find him choking. She watches him choke and attempts to help him, gets caught by the ghost in a curtain and smashed up against a window which cracks. In her desperation, Jane finally yells, "He didn’t love you!" to which Megumi stops. Ben is gasping for air, but alive.

At Megumi’s funeral, her body is cremated. Ben and Jane watch the process and hold hands. They return to New York, where seemingly all is over. However, this is not the case. Ben is out, seemingly at work, when Jane wants to take a picture of the rose petal shaped heart Ben has left her with a disposable camera. However, the camera is full of ready-to-be-developed pictures. She heads out to start her day and takes the camera with her, seemingly to drop it off at a developer. When she returns home, she has the photos in an envelope. While preparing dinner, she opens the envelope and is shocked by what she sees. In the pictures, of her and Ben frolicking around while still in their wedding clothes, the ghost of Megumi is visibly in the photos, crawling towards the couple and eventually standing near a portrait of Jane that (seemingly) Ben took. Jane looks in Ben’s belongings for the camera that he used in Japan, and finds the removable drive in the camera, which she loads into the computer, and is digusted by what she finds.

When Ben gets home, he can immediately tell something is wrong with Jane. He asks her what is wrong and she opens the laptop and asks him what the photos are of…and how he could do such a thing. We see the picture of Megumi, with Bruno and Adam, in a compromising position. Ben tells Jane that Megumi was crazy, she was obsessed and she wouldn’t stop harassing him. So when Bruno and Adam got involved, Adam suggested giving her some pills that were like sleeping pills but a little stronger, and photographing her in compromising positions that they could use to blackmail her against her prim and proper family to finally leave Ben alone. However, when the situation was happening, Ben took the photos but Adam and Bruno (more than likely drunk themselves) took advantage of Megumi and forced themselves on her. (The audience is led to believe this by the comments they make and the fact that they show the look on Ben’s face). Ben admits to Jane that the situation got out of control but absolves himself of blame since he never touched her. Jane is digusted, and realizes that Megumi was trying to warn her of the man she loves, that Megumi did not want to harm her at all.

She starts to leave him, telling him that she needs time to think and then recants, saying she needs no time to figure out that he’s not the person she thought he was and that she’s done. Jane departs, leaving Ben alone in the apartment. Ben takes out a Polaroid camera and begins photographing the apartment looking for Megumi. He yells, "Me and you together forever, is that what you want? You got it!" The pictures show nothing, and in anger, he drops the camera and it takes a photo. He picks up the photo and looks at it, and it shows Megumi is sitting on his shoulders. This explains his "injury" and why his shoulder has been hurting him so and why the nurse weighed him multiple times, his weight was that of 275, the weight of two people. In an effort to rid himself of her once and for all, hooks up a large amount of power to a photography light, which he puts to his neck. The power goes out in the building and we hear Ben’s screams.

The next scene is in a hospital. A nurse is wheeling a tray of food and drink into a room. We see the patient in the room is Ben, who appears completely catatonic, his head slung over and head closely shaved. The nurse injects his arm with a needle, sets the food down on the table and leaves the room, locking the door behind her. As it closes, we see that the spirit of Megumi is hugging Ben, causing him to be slumped over.


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Paiboon Damrongchaitham known as co-producer
  • Boosaba Daoruang known as co-producer (as Boosaba Daorueng)
  • Doug Davison known as producer
  • Gloria Fan known as executive producer
  • Satoshi Fukushima known as line producer
  • Richard Guay known as associate producer
  • Takashige Ichise known as producer (as Taka Ichise)
  • Roy Lee known as producer
  • Sonny Mallhi known as executive producer
  • Arnon Milchan known as executive producer
  • Visute Poolvoralaks known as co-producer
  • Yodphet Sudsawad known as co-producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Joshua Jackson known as Ben
  • Rachael Taylor known as Jane
  • Megumi Okina known as Megumi
  • David Denman known as Bruno
  • John Hensley known as Adam
  • Maya Hazen known as Seiko
  • James Kyson known as Ritsuo (as James Kyson Lee)
  • Yoshiko Miyazaki known as Akiko
  • Kei Yamamoto known as Murase
  • Daisy Betts known as Natasha
  • Adrienne Pickering known as Megan
  • Pascal Morineau known as Wedding Photographer
  • Masaki Ota known as Police Officer
  • Heideru Tatsuo known as Police Officer
  • Eri Otoguro known as Yoko
  • Rina Matsuki known as TGK Receptionist
  • Tomotaka Kanzaki known as Client
  • Jun Yakushiji known as Client
  • Emi Tamura known as Emi
  • Polina Kononova known as Studio Model
  • Yulia Ryzhova known as Studio Model
  • Mika Kinose known as Office Lady
  • Masakazu Nagakura known as Pachinko Parlor Employee
  • Shinji Furukawa known as Pachinko Parlor Customer
  • Maria Takagi known as Waitress at Japanese Restaurant
  • Akihido Ando known as Restaurant Manager
  • Alessandra known as Model
  • Katrina B. known as Model
  • Tanya Allen known as Model (as Tanya)
  • Takao Toji known as Tokyo Doctor
  • Shizuka Fujimoto known as Tokyo Exam Room Nurse
  • Yutaka Mishima known as Ghost Magazine Layout Designer
  • Maiko Asano known as Mother on Train
  • Rei Sato known as Boy on Train
  • Homare Hasegawa known as Passenger on Train
  • Kei Hirosawa known as Passenger on Train
  • Michiyo Kaneko known as Passenger on Train
  • Koichi Kase known as Passenger on Train
  • Yasuke Kawarada known as Passenger on Train
  • Ayuko Koyama known as Passenger on Train
  • Konomi Moriyama known as Passenger on Train
  • Akira Sato known as Passenger on Train
  • Miyoko Yamaguchi known as Passenger on Train
  • Runa Kozuki known as Girl in Park (as Runa Kozuka)
  • Natsuki known as TGK Female Staff
  • Akihiro Shimomura known as Megumi's Father
  • Gen Takatsuka known as Monk
  • Natalia Tsvetkova known as Brooklyn Nurse
  • Asya known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Graziela known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Ami Fujimoto known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Miki Hirono known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Ingrid known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Ananda known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Emiko Kondo known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Liana known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Tsukasa Minami known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Asami Momose known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Nadia known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Nadiya known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Natsue Orikawa known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Zoya known as Model in Adam's Photo Box
  • Olga Alex known as Model in Headshot
  • Julia G. known as Model in Headshot
  • Ira M. known as Model in Headshot
  • Natalia Silkina known as Model in Headshot (as Natalia Si)
  • Reila Aphrodite known as Satsuki (uncredited)
  • Masami Kosaka known as Japanese Man (uncredited)
  • Rana Morrison known as Wedding Guest (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Rick Findlater known as key hair stylist: US
  • Rick Findlater known as key makeup artist: US
  • Georgia Lockhart-Adams known as hair stylist: US
  • Georgia Lockhart-Adams known as makeup artist: US
  • Yûichi Matsui known as special makeup effects artist (as Yuichi Matsui)
  • Toshiya Ohta known as hair stylist: commercial photo shoot
  • Toshiya Ohta known as makeup artist: commercial photo shoot
  • Fumi Takeshita known as key hair stylist: Japan
  • Fumi Takeshita known as key makeup artist: Japan
  • Yoko Yamazaki known as hair stylist: Japan
  • Yoko Yamazaki known as makeup artist: Japan




Production Companies:

  • Regency Enterprises (presents)
  • New Regency Pictures
  • Vertigo Entertainment
  • Ozla Pictures

Other Companies:

  • DeLuxe Laboratories  prints
  • Dolby Laboratories  sound post-production
  • FedEx  trademark used by permission
  • Fellah Pictures  production services
  • Imagica  color processing
  • Lakeshore Records  score album
  • NAC Image Technology  camera equipment supplied by
  • Nihon Shomei Co.  lighting equipment supplied by
  • Pacific Title and Art Studio  digital intermediate
  • Pacific Title and Art Studio  main and end titles
  • Pacific Title and Art Studio  opticals
  • Rockbottom Rentals  walkie rentals
  • Runway  post-production services
  • Toho Studios  sound stage


  • 20th Century Fox (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox (2008) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox (2008) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox de Argentina (2008) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox of Germany (2008) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Forum Cinemas (2008) (Lithuania) (theatrical)
  • Fox-Warner (2008) (Switzerland) (theatrical)
  • Odeon (2008) (Greece) (theatrical)
  • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2008) (Canada) (DVD)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2008) (USA) (DVD)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2008) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-Ray Disc)
  • FS Film Oy (2008) (Finland) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-Ray Disc)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Pacific Title and Art Studio (opticals)
  • Big X (visual effects)
  • Pixel Magic (visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Andrea Caretta known as digital lighting and compositing artist
  • Thomas F. Ford IV known as visual effects producer: New Regency/Twentieth Century Fox
  • Bonnie Kanner known as visual effects executive producer: Pixel Magic
  • George Macri known as visual effects producer: Pixel Magic
  • Hajime Matsumoto known as visual effect supervisor: Big-X
  • Ray McIntyre Jr. known as visual effects supervisor: Pixel Magic
  • Josh Mossotti known as visual effects artist
  • Reid Paul known as senior digital effects supervisor: Pixel Magic
  • Neal Sopata known as digital artist
  • Bob Wiatr known as digital effects compositor: Pacific Title

Release Date:

  • Iceland 19 March 2008
  • Thailand 20 March 2008
  • USA 21 March 2008
  • Kuwait 27 March 2008
  • Singapore 27 March 2008
  • Lithuania 28 March 2008
  • Philippines 2 April 2008 (Manila)
  • Russia 3 April 2008
  • Egypt 9 April 2008
  • Brazil 11 April 2008
  • Mexico 11 April 2008
  • Spain 11 April 2008
  • Argentina 17 April 2008
  • Chile 17 April 2008
  • Panama 18 April 2008
  • Estonia 25 April 2008
  • Pakistan 25 April 2008
  • Philippines 29 April 2008 (Davao)
  • Venezuela 1 May 2008
  • Hong Kong 8 May 2008
  • Australia 15 May 2008
  • Germany 15 May 2008
  • Ireland 16 May 2008
  • Poland 16 May 2008
  • Sweden 16 May 2008
  • UK 16 May 2008
  • Greece 29 May 2008
  • Belgium 2 July 2008
  • Colombia 6 August 2008
  • Italy 8 August 2008
  • Turkey 8 August 2008
  • Finland 27 August 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • France 27 August 2008
  • Hungary 27 August 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Japan 6 September 2008
  • Netherlands 14 October 2008 (DVD premiere)

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for terror, disturbing images, sexual content and language



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , .


  1. peelscreen from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    I think this movie shows exactly how Hollywood sees America's youth.Compelled by fashionably dressed model women, sometimes half naked,bright colors, spooky images and scenes that are only there to make youjump. Oh… and I forgot, no brains. They think you're all idiots sothey give you this cliché garbage.

    Skinny attractive woman who couldn't act if it were cursed on her,walks around always looking fresh and dumb in designer clothes. Thismovie is about as intelligent as a log. Everything seems forced andnone of it is original or done in a compelling way. I have to wonder ifEnglish was the native language of the director since most of thedialog is unacceptably terrible. Many times I cringed or laughed atthings that I knew weren't meant to have that kind of reaction.

    Poorly paced, poorly written, poorly acted, the effects are okay. Ihaven't seen the original, but conceptually, this movie could have beengreat if it were done the right way. Unfortunately, it was not. F-

  2. Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    In North America, after getting married, the photographer Benjamin Shaw(Joshua Jackson) and his wife Jane (Rachel Taylor) travel to Japan fora job opportunity with Ben's friends Bruno (David Denman) and Adam(John Hensley). While driving on a lonely road in Japan during thenight, they have a car accident with Jane hitting a girl first andcrashing a tree. When they awake, the police do not find any body andBen believes that Jane imagined the situation. Later when Ben revealshis latest pictures, he finds some mysterious shadows, while the coupleis systematically haunted by the ghost of the girl. Jane investigatesand finds that the victim was Ben's former shy and weird girlfriendMegumi Tanaka (Megumi Okina), who worked as translator for Ben. LaterJane discloses deep and hidden secrets about the relationship ofMegumi, Ben and his friends Bruno and Adam.

    The American version of "Shutter" is a mediocre remake of a great Asianhorror movie. Actually it is ridiculous, with the author poorly usingthe same storyline and transforming a creepy and dark story in anotherHollywoodian standard of silliness – shallow screenplay but withbeautiful actresses, handsome lead actor and wonderful locations inJapan. If the viewer has never seen the original "Shutter" (2004)(, watch it instead. If the viewerhas already seen the Thailand's movie, prefer watching it again. Itwill be better than wasting time watching this terrible remake. My voteis four.

    Title (Brazil): "Imagens do Além" ("Images from Beyond")

    Note: On 25 February 2012, I saw this film again.

  3. bababear from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    This was a surprisingly good, old fashioned ghost story.

    I haven't seen the original and I'm not a fanboy, so I didn't have anyaxes to grind going in. The cast is very good if somewhatunderutilized, the photography and musical scoring are excellent, andthere's a plot twist that caught me completely by surprise.

    Watching the previews you'd think this was the one millionth Asianhorror with a vengeful female spirit who has long black hair and darkcircles under her eyes. There's more than that going on here.

    And, without giving any plot points away, the final shot of the film isgoing to stay with me for a long, long time.

    Sure, this isn't the most original piece of work ever. It's part of along tradition of ghost stories. But the makers had the sense to keepit to 85 minutes so it's over before you really begin to think howfamiliar some of the material is.

  4. movedout
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    Take it as it is. A derivative, leaden, mind-numbingly simplifiedremake of a superior original. That's not to say that it's genuinelydecent on its own merits if you've not already seen 2004's seminalThai-horror "Shutter" that reignited that country's interest inproducing slow burning, luxuriously made horror films. Interestingly,and perhaps even fittingly, the Hollywood machine that devours andregurgitates the recent slate of J-Horror films has turned its sightson "Shutter", which arguably finds its core roots in Japan's horrorconventions in its vengeful, waifish ghost girl tormenting the livingby manifesting through various electronic mediums. So what MasayukiOchiai's adaptation essentially becomes is a carbon copy of copy.

    American photographer Ben Shaw (Joshua Jackson) and his blondeschoolteacher bride Jane (Rachael Taylor) go straight from nuptials toa working honeymoon in Japan, natch, because America just isn't asscary to Americans as Asia is. Before heading off to Ben's lucrativeassignment in Tokyo, the newly minted couple heads to a remotecountryside inn when a brief accident derails Jane's constitution andcompels her to seek out answers led by a phantasmal presence inphotographs and a newly discovered knowledge of spirit photography.

    Unremarkably, Luke Dawson's screenplay omits and appends details to itsbasic premise. The original uses the stark disassociation of cityliving to intensify the eeriness of isolation, and the idea that wenever really see what we think we know. Dawson's script transplants thecouple to a different country, ramping up the cultural alienation andexoticism of another culture. It's not dissimilar to what we've alreadyseen in "The Grudge" remakes.

    Even as Ochiai's direction is comparatively surefooted and patient withthe camera choosing to hang on to a scene instead of ludicrouslyharping on jump-cuts and eyeball-rattling shots that bounce off thewall, the film feels unambitiously stale. "Shutter" goes through themotions of dourly checking off look-behind-you set pieces andreflections on windows. The plotting and performances are so apparent;you'd find yourself a couple of steps ahead of the film's centralfaux-mystery. While the bizarre symbiotic relationship audiences havewith particularly mediocre remakes of Asian horror films should stilllive on after this, what remains most terrifying is how textbook simpleand undemanding the film-making has become for films of its ilk.

  5. Mark-129 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    Before I reviewed this American remake of a highly regarded Thai horrorfilm from 2004, I ordered a copy of the original to make a comparison.

    Although the original is superior, the remake, to be fair smooths outsome of the inconsistencies of the tale. This is not always a goodthing as it's these little things that give the story a bit ofcharacter and individuality.

    To be brief, the story involves the haunting of an Americanphotographer and his new wife in Japan after hitting a young woman withtheir car on a lonely country road.

    Most of the ghostly horror is more suggested than overt, with imagesappearing in photographs and just out of direct sight. Most of the setpieces from the original are here, but several of the most startlingand effective moments of horror are missing. The unfortunate PG-13rating keeps everything in check, so, while compelling, the horror isfairly muted. Another fault is the ghost lacks a bit of the personalitythe original has in spades. The final twist takes the story in a verydifferent direction and is quite startling. But, like another reviewerwrote, leaves you feeling justice has been done.

    Not a great film, but very watchable and satisfying.

  6. oktobreana from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    *SPOILER ALERT* It was not bad, had some good elements, but this wholeAsian horror scenario is getting kind of old. Same look, same style,etc. I think the writers overseas are better but the production inAmerica is better. More than frightening me, it left me a little sad.You feel sorry for the character, you don't particularly fear her. Andhis wife's reaction to the secret photos was pretty extreme…you wouldcertainly be alarmed and unnerved, but somehow I don't think you'd havesuch a visceral reaction. They made it seem like someone had torn offher face or something.

    I did like knowing why the Japanese nurse kept weighing himthough…pretty clever!

  7. b014422 from Belgium
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    After seeing this movie, I was shocked by the comments. The moviewasn't that bad at all.

    In the beginning I wasn't sure what to think. It was rather scary, andthe plot itself made my question whether I saw this movie or notalready. It reminded me of similar movies like the grudge.

    But let's face it, the end was surprising and not in any waypredictable.

    I like the movie. I'll see it again someday.

    I gave it a six because it was very entertaining, surprising, but itwont go into history as a masterpiece.

    See this movie if you want to enjoy yourself, be scared, be excited andyou wont regret it.

  8. DICK STEEL from Singapore
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    Someone remind me what's the point of a remake again? A dearth ofideas? Thinking that one can do the job better? Don't laugh but one ofthe better Asian horror I've seen (probably amongst the first few tooin recent years) was the Thai movie Shutter, which played on the plotdevice of spirit photography, those strange streaks of blurs that coverweird angles in a photograph, and with a vivid imagination, you caneven make out faces of people you know, or know not.

    There are remakes which challenge on the technical fronts – having torecreate scenes shot by shot, or those helmed by master directors inthe hopes of injecting some depth into characterization and story. Somefilmmakers even choose to remake their own films with a different cast(Funny Games anyone?), and the list goes on. But one thing's for sure,I seriously hope that the number of Asian horror remakes start todwindle, given that the westernized versions pale in comparison totheir Asian originals, and Shutter happens to be one of them.

    OK, so perhaps half the fun was eliminated when you know just aboutevery plot twist and turn, character motivation, and probably even whatdialogue will come out of the actor's mouths (so I jest). But in allearnestness, I reckon that this remake will appeal more to those whohave not seen the original. It's easy to be thoroughly bored becauseyou know just what's about to come, and can eliminate red herrings, aswell as spot the now-so-obviously subtle hints that the characters tryto hide unsuccessfully.

    Also, you can bet your last dollar that Hollywood will again go overthe top in trying to explain everything verbatim, as well as attemptingto up the ante with the finale, but in doing so, tried too hard. I donot deny that it was much needed tension too little too late toward theend, but really, it added nothing to the plot besides succeeding inmaking you squirm. Technically this remade version boasts nicerproduction values, but lacked the edginess that the original had tooffer, well, because the directing duo of Banjong Pisanthanakun andParkpoom Wongpoom were rookies then, and lacked certain horrific charmand soul (pardon the pun). In fact, there was one critical scene whichthe Thai version had which boasted some ingenuity in a tracking shot,but one which the remake had chickened out to do, opting instead forcheap CG and unnecessary cut-shots.

    So the remade had blinked first, and didn't offer any reallyfrightening moments to genuinely scare. Somehow I thought it was rathersubtly pre-occupied with sex, given that you have a great looking castwith Joshua Jackson as Benjamin Shaw the photographer, and his newlywedded wife Jane Shaw, played by Rachael Taylor. For some reason, Japangets automatically associated with Asian horror, and that's where thisremake was set in, maybe because the director – Masayuki Ochiai – isJapanese too.

    But the final straw which I found really disturbing, was the lack ofacknowledgement that this is a remake. There's nothing in the openingcredits to inform the audience that it is one (the original Thaidirectors given only producers credits), and probably tried to pass offas an original story. Recommended of course to those who have not seenthe original (even then I'd suggest you only watch the Thai version).Those who have, are advised to steer clear.

  9. Ionut Sandu from Romania
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    This is a remake of a good Thai horror movie that was released back in2004. I really enjoyed the original movie and I recommend it toeveryone. Why did they need to do a remake of a movie that was releasedonly 4 years ago? Did they think they can improve it in some way? Notonly did they not improve it, they made it worse than the original inmany ways. The brilliant music and sounds from the original are gone,the ghost is less scary, is shown more often, and it seems lessmenacing (at one step the ghost is even singing!), the acting is worse,and the characters are less believable than in the original.

    The producers introduced a few new elements hoping to make the moviemore scary, but in fact they made it more disgusting (the flies forexample). The original movie was full of clichés, but this one is evenmore so. The most brilliant part of the original movie was the ending.In the remake, they simply copied every scene from the last part of themovie, but with less talent and less impressive results.

    So, I return to my original question: why did they need to do a remake?What was the problem with the original movie released only 4 yearsbefore this one? The fact that the main actors were Asians and thatthey didn't speak English? Or more likely, the fact that Hollywood,which is apparently all out of ideas, couldn't let a good story fly bythem without them making money out of it?

  10. ZiggyZane from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 2:47 pm

    The attempt for this movie was a valiant one… but it failed none the less. They tried so hard to sum up J-Horror movies into one movie that didn’t scare you, leave you in suspense, or even guessing. At one point I asked my girlfriend to wake me up when it got good. Had I actually gone to sleep and had her wake me up when it was good… she would’ve woken me up at the credits. The cinematography was great, but that was probably the only good thing about the movie. You see a side to Japan most movies don’t show you, NOT the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, but the side parks, the small houses outside the main cities, the apartments, etc. The movie left nothing to the imagination, you knew what was happening the entire time. There was no point in the movie where I was scared… I didn’t even jump. All in all this movie was terrible, don’t waste your money on it, watch something else instead… like moss growing, ANYTHING but this movie.

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