Monday, May 27, 2013

Film Review: Shutter (2008)

Shutter (Review)
United States/2008
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

Newlywed couple Ben and Jane move to Japan for Ben's promising career as a photographer. As they travel through Japan late at night, Jane and Ben accidentally hit a girl in the middle of the forest with their car and crash. Jane and Ben eventually wake up and the girl has mysteriously disappeared without a trace - the police also fail to find evidence of an accident.

Ben and Jane continue regularly living their lives Japan, believing the woman escaped harm. That is, until Jane and Ben find mysterious glares and stains on their photographs. On top of that, Ben continues to have disturbing visions of a young girl - the girl that was hit in the crash has been haunting him during his shoots. Jane finds out about spirit photography, where odd human figures - alive or dead - appear because they have a strong connection. And so goes the investigation of this mysteriously eerie young girl.

The story in this film is good. I like the concept of spirit photography, and I like the explanation and montage of the spirit photographs. This story is heavily reliant on jump-scares, along with some suspense and creepy imagery; it's great for a first-time viewing, but it lacks effectiveness on multiple viewings. The ending of the film is good, the twist is the same as the original film's twist - if you've seen the original, this might be less effective, though. I knew the ending from beginning, but I still felt the film dropped too many obvious hints and made the ending much more predictable. I like the twists, but the character's actions during this sequence are questionable - to be blunt, they are stupid. The story does often feel predictable and cliché, overall.

The acting is surprisingly good. The characters aren't deep, but they are believable on the surface. The performances were spot on, and the dialogue wasn't as cheesy as some other remakes. The music was also effective in creating a creepy mood. The story has a moderate pace, but it does often feel like it drags. I watched the unrated version of the film, and felt like it dragged its feet at times. Technically, it's not really anything special, but it is average - it's acceptable.

Overall, Shutter has a great concept, but it is flawed in its execution. Being too reliant on jump-scares, the film lacks immersive atmosphere and originality - this remake adds nothing special to an already spectacular horror film. I recommend for fans of horror and horror remakes, and for this looking for a quick way to kill a night. Otherwise, purchase it at a low price or rent it.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, disturbing imagery, and some sexuality.

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