Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Shutter

"Shutter" (2008, Masayuki Ochiai, Regency Enterprises, New Recency, Vertigo Entertainment, 20th Century Fox) is an American ghost horror based in Tokyo about a haunted camera.... Kind of. It is a remake of the 2004 Thai horror film with the same name.

Ben (Joshua Jackson) and Jane (Rachael Taylor) seem  like a perfect couple at first. We see them at their wedding, smiling away. We see them coming home together - still smiling. We see them set off to live in Tokyo where Ben, a photographer, has gotten a job with some friends he used to work with in Japan before. On their travels, Jane accidentally hits a young girl in a white dress who was standing in the middle of a dark road. They wreck their car and Jane frantically hunts for the girl, but to no avail; she is gone, along with any trace of her.

With their new exciting life in Japan already off to a less than idyllic start, Jane is further disillusioned once she reaches their destination. Although their apartment is huge, Ben is working all the time. She also doesn't speak any Japanese and feels like an outsider as she wanders aimlessly around the city and when she gets home she is surrounded by beautiful models and fashion entourage who make her feel even more like an outsider. Ben doesn't really notice any of this as he gets stuck back in with his friends and colleagues, getting to shoot fancy magazine pieces.

Jane is so happy when their wedding photos arrive and is dismayed to find that there is a white, ghostly mark through most of them. Confused she asks Ben, who convinces her that there was something faulty with the development and that it will be OK. But Jane is unconvinced as she goes through their honeymoon photos and even her own city snaps to find the same mark is present on all of them - and they were all taken with different cameras in different mediums...

Ben is not convinced, but Jane is adamant that the girl she struck on the road had died and is haunting them. She sets herself to uncover the mystery, but as she delves deeper she begins to regret it as things begin to make sense...

A really good jump scare horror with a dark and twisted plot and some creepy imagery. It has all of the edge and creep of a good J-horror movie, but also a few hollywood horror tropes. The girl haunting them, Megumi (Megumi Tanaka), is your average onryō vengeful spirit with a sad tale to tell, but she is perfectly realised and does not just lift all of the hallmarks from other famous J-horror ghosts. She is sadder. It is like she doesn't want to kill them, but she is compelled to. All of the cast are pretty good in their roles and the sliding of the perfect relationship into this hellish nightmare is captured well.

While it's nothing novel the film is effective in a Saturday night movie kind of way and has a couple of scary moments that I appreciated. I really want to see the Thai version now as it is bound to be much, much scarier!

[Image: 20th Century Fox, et al[
Hani