Directed by: Masayuki Ochiai | 85 minutes | horror | Actors: Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor, John Hensley, David Denman, James Kyson Lee, Maya Hazen, Adrienne Pickering, Megumi Okina, Natalie N. Okamoto, Albert Smith, Daisy Betts
The fun of American remakes of Japanese horror films was somewhat less after “The Ring” (2002) and “The Grudge” (2004). Still, some studio bosses in Hollywood believe they can still secure their pension by casting Asian horrors in an American jacket.
It is now the turn of “Shutter” (2004), a Thai ghost film in the style of the Japanese “Ringu”. This film was not original; the viewer was treated for the umpteenth time to a pale ghost girl who scares the main characters time and again with unexpected appearances. However, this Thai production stood out positively due to a number of effective scares and a strong script including a surprising plot twist.
The American remake of ‘Shutter’ twists the original story, focusing the film around newly married American couple Ben (Joshua Jackson, ‘Dawson’s Creek’) and Jane (Rachael Taylor, ‘Transformers’), who combine a honeymoon to Tokyo with a photography job of the husband. Does this fact seem somewhat familiar to you? That may add up; as soon as Jane discovers Tokyo on her own, you think for a moment you have put Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” into your DVD player.
Ben and Jane’s honeymoon takes a nasty turn when Jane accidentally runs over a Japanese girl who inexplicably blocks the road in the middle of the night. It starts with ghost appearances in the couple’s photos and ends with the appearance of the girl who was driven to death herself. Is this girl out for revenge for being hit by the car or is there perhaps more to play? That is not quite difficult for the viewer to unravel; especially if you have already seen the original Thai film.
“Shutter” is served to us as an after-meal mustard. The film is released years late and does not add anything original to this subgenre within the horror world. No wonder then that the Dutch distribution company is playing it safe with a DVD release. Because the attendance numbers for a theatrical release of a dated concept without a star cast would probably terrify the distributor more than “Shutter” could ever do.