Shutter (2008)

I used to own the original Thai version of ‘Shutter’ on dvd, before I purged everything except my beloved Batman blu ray collection and seemingly random old war films. It was derivative and not especially original, but it sure was creepy. I suppose it still is creepy, I do not assume films cease to exist when I no longer own them, otherwise the everyone would have to watch endless re-runs of Adam West in the movie theatre. Actually this would be cool. Anyway, it was creepy. This 2008 remake follows basically the same storyline, a couple hit a girl whilst driving somewhere unimportant to the storyline and her ghost shows up in all their photos. She is basically a supernatural photobomber. The cool thing is you can use a poloroid camera and see where your ghost friend is immediately, and given that this is a horror film, she is usually right up in your grill. However, just to be contrary, and rather mess with this quite simple yet effective concept the film makers have tried to be as clever as the people who re-made ‘The Ring’ with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There they adeptly subverted the meaning of the film by placing a foreigner in a strange situation, it was all the more scary because Buffy had no one to turn to, it was as much about isolation as anything else. Shutter though has a boyfriend who speaks fluent Japanese – so when the wafer thin veneer which covers up his asshole nature begins to flake off the only thing our leading lady is isolated from is her dick head boyfriend. I am still confused as to why they ended up in Japan, the film has a sexual undertone which didnt really fit in with most of the J-horror tropes of the early 2000s, so taking the couple to Japan and sort of re-imagining it all there seems a little bit like the films makers said “Thailand, Japan, all the same to us” without really taking into account the fact that a lot of the associations bound up in the genre they were working in are fairly country specific. Really though, this remakes biggest crime is that it is just not scary at all. The original wasn’t big on the shock factor, it more built a sense of foreboding which had you looking at all your pictures again to check for scary ghost …. things. This one though tries way too hard with far too little thought put into what its doing, half the scary bits look like cardboard cut outs gone wonky, all under a soundtrack which might just as well have been a person saying JUMP! at the appropriate moments. If you have not seen the original this might just have enough going on to keep you interested for its (thankfully) short run time, if you can find it though, and you have exhausted the numerous other films which do this whole thing slightly better, I would definitely recommend the original.

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