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Asian horror films reworked to suit American tastes have been a cash stuffed pita that...
Asian horror films reworked to suit American tastes have been a cash stuffed pita that studios have well and truly beaten to a tattered pulp lately. Filtering the brooding Asian horror sensibility through the jump'n'scare approach of American fright fests proves a difficult task. Nevertheless, Hollywood studios keep trying, beginning with The Ring's success, which was followed soon after by Pulse, Dark Water, The Grudge, The Eye and now the Thai horror remake Shutter.
Benjamin Shaw (Joshua Jackson) and his wife Jane (Rachael Taylor) are honeymooning in rural Japan when they're involved in a car accident en-route to photographer Benjamin's latest assignment in Tokyo. Amidst the crash, Jane sees a young Japanese woman, who then promptly vanishes. After the accident, any photographs taken of the couple are imprinted with the ghostly image of the same young woman. As the couple investigates, they uncover the mysterious world of "spirit photography", and the possibility that the ghostly apparition may be trying to tell them something.
Easily one of the lamest US Asian-horror "do-overs", Shutter suffers from a serious lack of threat and, indeed, horror. The slow burn, moody stylistics and painfully annoying sub-woofer rumblings stuff the gaps that the threadbare plot and predictable scripting fail to cover. The casting of uber-lightweights Jackson and Taylor (Transformers) dooms the film to drown in its own mediocrity, as they divest the story of any believability or legitimacy. Director Masayuki Ochiai employs impressive experiments in moody lighting, aided in no small part by crack cinematographer Katsumi Yanagishima (Battle Royale, The Grudge 2), but the whole flailing mess ultimately collapses under the weight of its own failed plot logic and comes off as sub-The Ring and sub-sub-The Grudge. Shutter fails to haunt, let alone scare.