Shutter DVD review

It's another remake of an Asian horror film! Hurray! But does Shutter survive the process in tact?

Shutter: worth a shot. Ho ho.

Shutter is another in a long line of Hollywood remakes of Asian Horror films. Directed by Masayuki Ochiai and starring Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor, it is the story of Benjamin and Jane Shaw, young newlyweds from New York who move to Japan for Benjamin’s work as a photographer. The story follows events that unfold after a car accident they have on the drive to their honeymoon.    Those familiar with remakes such as The Ring and The Grudge, will know what to expect from Shutter. The film begins by lulling you into a false sense of security as we see the happy couple enjoying wedded bliss. This is soon interrupted by a nasty car accident in which they appear to run right over a young girl who disappears in the wake of the accident. Despite the traumatic event plaguing Jane with guilt, Benjamin acts as if Jane had imagined the incident and begins his photo shoot in Tokyo seemingly oblivious to his wife’s distress. However, things take a sinister turn as photos from Benjamin’s shoot are ruined by strange white shadows, which the couple also find on their own photos. Jane believes these shadows to be ‘ghost photos’ and as she investigates this idea, she unearths some predictably sinister revelations. The first 20 minutes of the film were a little painful and the acting a touch rigid, but despite a rather shaky start, the film gathered pace as the story unravelled, and became surprisingly gripping. The plot is revealed in such a way that the audience experiences every discovery and subsequent feeling as the main character (Jane) does. Ochiai has worked hard to convey her growing feeling of unease and he is largely successful. Although there are still some predictable moments in the film, the last half an hour serves up some satisfying surprises. The ending ties everything up cleanly, and does not resort to bewildering flashbacks or leave space for a trail of sequels, as is the case with many modern horror films. There are some stunning shots of Japan and Tokyo itself. The effects are well done and minimalistic. Ochiai keeps to the stylistic conventions of this style of film, such as the creepy gaunt woman with black hair. Some of these conventions may detract from the film, certainly in its ability to scare, as most horror devotees will have seen it all before and will be watching some parts more with detached irony, than fear. This said, as mentioned in the extras, the woman with long black hair is part of the Asian horror culture and is to be expected. Overall, Shutter makes for a pleasingly effective, if slightly pedestrian, horror film. In keeping with the style of Asian horror films the scares are subtle yet effective; Ochiai doesn’t rely on bucketfuls of blood to shock and those seeking a few frights and a neat twist will not be disappointed. Extras    The array of extras on the disc include the usual deleted scenes and commentary from members of the crew. More interestingly, there are short interviews with cast members discussing the process of filming in a foreign country and the constraints that came with it. There is even a short tutorial on how to create your very own ‘spirit photo’ using a few simple techniques on your PC. These extras complement the film nicely.

3 out of 5


3 out of 5