A NEWLY MARRIED COUPLE DISCOVERS DISTURBING, GHOSTLY IMAGES INPHOTOGRAPHS THEY DEVELOP AFTER A TRAGIC ACCIDENT. FEARING THE MANIFESTATIONS MAY BE CONNECTED, THEY INVESTIGATE AND LEARN THATSOME MYSTERIES ARE BETTER LEFT UNS... more »OLVED.« less
Steven Hedge | Somewhere "East of Eden" | 03/25/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"you may die laughing at what these filmmakers consider scary. What is scary is that anyone kept a straight face while filming this latest Asian influenced horror film.
**This review may contain some minor spoilers**
Simply put, with the focus on "simply", this is a tale of a newlywed couple that moves to Japan immediately after their wedding so that the husband, Ben Shaw (played by the wooden Canadian actor Joshua Jackson of Dawson's Creek), can accept a job as a high fashion photographer in a firm that is run by his buddies, Bruno and Adam, who quickly come off as both suspicious and somewhat seedy. Of course, all these young men in this film are once again played with the stereotypical "grunge" look of 5 o'clock shadows and wrinkled suits with no ties and we are again expected to believe these young professionals are "running" a company in Japan which is a country and culture that is known for formality.
Ben's wife, Jane (boringly played by Rachael Taylor from Transformers who was the British computer geek) is onto this quickly, but says nothing. In fact, her blank expression is the best one she has as an actress and only gives us a small snapshot of her "acting" ability near the end of the film. She is just a blank slate throughout most of this film and that is only part her fault as her director should have demanded more of her or he should have given her more guidance, but then again, the script is tremendously at fault as well and speaking of which . . .
On route to their honeymoon spot in Japan, Jane runs over a woman standing in the middle of the road to which her loving and compassionate husband eventually responds with "Don't let something like this ruin our honeymoon." He follows that up with "She's probably fine" since she didn't stick around --even though BOTH the front and back tires rolled over her, bouncing the car like crazy into a ditch. I kid you not. These lines were said; they are direct quotes from this incredible unbelievable and hugely unintentionally funny Asian influenced horror yarn that is beyond cliche-ridden.
After this "tragic" event that is nothing more than a blip on their radar scope, Jane "sees" the ghost of this woman she ran over in her husband's photographs, in misty images, and in reflections all over the place. So does her husband who seems to want to keep it all to himself and make his wife believe she is nuts as he's crawling around on the floor while attempting to allude this ghost in a sensationally and unintentionally funny moment that is followed up with a "Hi dear" when his wife discovers this episode. This film is filled with moments like this and I can't help but point out another one in which Ben takes a photograph of himself that includes the ghost . . . not kidding now . . . sitting on his shoulders and he runs around trying to get her off. Only Jim Carey could have done this moment funnier. I, my whole family, and the entire theater I watched this film in was dying with laughter. This is a horror film??????
Now add to this that the Japanese ghost easily reminds one of the ghost in The Grudge and that film has, unfortunately, been parodied to death. In fact, there is nearly nothing original in this film that copies almost every Asian horror flick known to man. Combine that with lackluster, nearly boring, acting by all involved, tiresome overused special effects, pedestrian direction and you get a film that is a real failure. The only positive thing I can really say about this film is that it gave me and my family a very unexpected laugh. It deserves the 1.5 star I gave it and below is my rating (or "ranting") scale in connection to food:
* = hopeless (may cause intense nausea or death) * 1/2 = poor (you may survive viewing this film, but Pepto-bismol may be required) ** = mediocre (may leave a bad after taste in your mouth) ** 1/2 = acceptable (this is like eating your not-so-favorite cold cut sandwich - nothing special, but fills your gut) *** = good (goes down easy enough, but you wish it was a better more substantial meal) *** 1/2 = very good (you feel well feed after this one) **** = excellent (glued to the screen while eating your favorite snack w/o guilt) **** 1/2 = outstanding (you feel like you are at your favorite all-you-can-eat buffet) ***** = masterpiece (you feel like you are at your favorite all-you-can-eat buffet where you can't gain any weight . . . or the film is just a personal favorite and may not truly deserve a 5 star rating --lol) "
Check It Out!
Maryann Tatro | Western MA USA | 07/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wanted to buy this movie, so I figured I would check out some reviews here on Amazon.
After reading said reviews, I was somewhat discouraged and thought renting might be a better idea. Since I knew I would at least enjoy the location shots in Japan, renting wouldn't be a waste.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised! I really enjoyed this movie. It may well have some minor plot flaws, but what movie doesn't? All in all, I found it intriguing and pretty well-paced. To me it was as much a mystery as a horror flick. Having both those elements is what maintained my interest.
I've never seen the original Thai movie; however, now I intend to buy both versions. Even my husband and daughter liked it!
Maybe this movie isn't one everyone enjoyed, but sometimes it's a good idea to check it out for yourself."
Tired of Horror Movie Snobs - This Movie Wasn't That Bad!!!
David-Anthony Curtis | 07/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, I hesitated buying this movie because of the reviews here and from what I had heard. I own the original Thai release of this movie and love it. I decided to buy this movie and I'm not sorry that I did. It is not that bad. The photography was good, the effects were good, the actors were good...the story is not original, it is borrowed...but then again so are most the stories out there. I liked the twist on the ending that this one had. Give this movie a chance and don't listen to horror movie snobs who probably only give a 5-star if peoples limbs are hanging on by a thread and there are buckets of blood and guts. If you want a good movie about a ghost haunting someone that did them wrong, then you won't be sorry with this movie."
Three-And-A-Half Stars - Underrated Movie That's Quite Diffe
Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 04/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First off, the Shutter remake differed for me from other remakes of Asian horror in that, usually, by the time there is a remake I've seen the original. I haven't seen the 2004 Shutter (for no reason beyond the fact that there's a lot of Asian horror DVDs out that aren't stocked where I live, and having to see them by buying from Amazon or someplace means it takes quite a while to catch up) so I'll just focus on this incarnation.
I really didn't have high hopes for this, but it turned out better than I thought. Its biggest weakness was that it took quite a while to get going, quite a while to start distinguishing itself from movies like the "Grudge" series, but once it did, it became highly effective.
It focuses on a newly married American couple (played by Joshua Jackson and Rachel Taylor) who move to Japan, where the husband has landed a job with a high-profile photography agency. It's actually a return for him, having worked there previously, and the first time for Taylor. Shortly after arriving they're in a car accident in which Jane (Taylor) thinks they've struck a woman, who Ben (Jackson) has no recollection of seeing; police and paramedics who arrive on the scene can find no trace that this woman ever existed either. Jane reluctantly accepts the theory that maybe she imagined the woman, but shortly thereafter, images begin to turn up in photographs Ben takes, and Jane becomes convinced the woman is haunting them. This leads into the whole world of spirit photography, a phenomena by where ghosts and glimpses of other worlds are said to be occasionally (and often inadvertently) captured on film.
The movie manages to tap into a different kind of scariness, in that it's one of the few examples of a successful 'melancholy' horror film. It's sad not in an air of big moments of grand tragedy, but in a subtle and quiet way (although the last ten minutes or so definately raises the bar in dramatic, revelatory happenings). This kind of mood is very hard to pull off, very easy to just become dull and depressing instead of moving and interesting. It really only seemed to attain it in its latter portions, although knowing what I do about the ending makes me want to see it over again once it hits DVD, see if things early on can be seen in a different light.
Shutter is well made for the most part, although there are unfortunate glitches. For example, certain scenes are played very well by the cast whereas others, often featuring the same players, perhaps could have benefitted from a do-over. Nothing terrible, and it's not as much of a hinderance as the fact that it took things so long to hit their stride. For the first two thirds of the film it was good but not really anything more, picking up a lot in the last half-hour. If it managed this just a little bit earlier it probably would have gotten a four-star rating, but I think I'll put it at three-and-a-half. It was much better than people are saying, and, contrary to its reputation, isn't just copying all the same moves that something like The Ring (Widescreen Edition) so successfully made. Its atmosphere is very different, but it works. I'd reccommend giving this one a chance."
One of the better Japanese cooperative efforts
W. Mason | 11/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, unless I'm mistaken, this is a remake of a movie from Thailand -- so I was a bit surprised when it ended up becoming a sort of Japanese-Hollywood hybrid.
Of course, the whole concept fits very well with the Grudge-like Japanese genre, and the Thai version was likely also inspired by that sub-genre of horror, so in the end that's beside the point. I just felt the need to question whether this is "just another J-Horror crossover".
Anyway, having lived in Japan for nearly a decade, I found this one hit very close to home and was authentic and believeable.
Compare to a show like Heroes that uses Japanese-Americans and Korean-Americans pretending to be Japanese with awful accents - or reading clocks with Kanji digits... well, let's just say it was nice to see some real Japanese actors who weren't playing to American stereotypes.
See, I knew more than a couple of American guys who dated Japanese women, and stories of the Japanese girlfriend who refused to say goodbye -- often bordering on the creepy stalkerish type -- were not rare.
Something about being a Gaijin and the way Japanese relationships are rarely as casual at their core makes the girlfriend who could not say goodbye story ring very true here.
I also knew a few less than wholesome American guys there with awful reputations, and the "ugly American" in this movie likewise hits the nail on the head.
These realistic, drawn-from-tales-of-experience background story elements make Shutter more than the typical watch the teens die one by one type of B flick, and made it very entertaining for me. I also found it to be more realistic than the Grudge remake because of their less than pretty take of the American guy in Japan.
If you are a guy (or girl) who lived in Japan for a while, you'll enjoy the authentic feel of this one. If not, it may just be "another J-horror crossover" to you.