The Era of Hollywood’s Tried and True Formula
The early 2000s saw so many remakes of wildly popular, highly successful Asian horror films. From The Ring to One Missed Call, and Pulse, there was a wave of remade films that got a lot of hate. Sometimes fairly justified. The originals had their own unique style and were flat-out disturbing and frightening. It seemed that with many of the U.S. versions, they often tried to replicate and just fell short. They were watered down and honestly didn’t need to be made. But I don’t feel that Shutter deserved the hate it received.
In Case You Skipped This One
In Shutter, we meet a young newlywed couple, Ben (Joshua Jackson, Dr. Death (2021) and Jane (Rachael Taylor The Loft (2014) headed to Japan for Ben’s new photography job. They hit a woman while lost, driving on a country road en route to Honshū for a short honeymoon. They can’t find the woman after they recover from blacking out. Once settled in Tokyo, Ben develops the honeymoon pictures and notices strange anomalies in every one. He thinks the camera is defective, but his assistant Seiko (Maya Hazen, Shrooms (2007) suggests it could be a spirit.
On the new job, it’s clear that Ben has some history in the country by the way his buddies Adam (John Hensley, Teeth (2007) and Bruno (David Denman, Brightburn (2019) carry on with old stories. Jane feels uneasy about them but dismisses it. Seiko warms up to Jane and the two become friendly. Jane becomes intrigued by the strange defects in the photos. This ends up breadcrumbing her to a dark and twisted secret between Ben, his pals, and the mysterious woman on the country road.
But Was It Really All Bad?
I feel that Shutter did well with holding tension and driving suspense. I could do without the jump scares because they NEVER work. But overall I was intrigued. My only gripe is how Jane discovers the whole truth of what happened. It was just lazy. Bottom line is, Shutter isn’t exactly a cinematic masterpiece. When it comes to Asian horror remakes, it’s also not the best adaptation of its original. But separate it from all of that and it’s a fairly decent film with great effects. Oh and the cringe moments… So many awful cringe moments… I will say, then and now, I felt director Masayuki Ochiai and the production team did wonderfully executing the tone and look of the film. Definitely a like for me.
In any case, sometimes I feel fans take things too seriously and judge harshly. If you’re a fan of the original and find it difficult not to make comparisons, I’d say you did well in skipping this one. If you have some time to kill and it’s available on one of your streaming services, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a go.