Shutter is a ghost story free of logic and spirit, representative of everything that’s wrong with so much of current mainstream studio fare. Hardly capable of offending any deeper emotional or intellectual values, this third Asian horror remake in as many months is a flimsy, no-weight cash magnet devoid of even the most basic cinematic principles, its simple visual competence a technical given in a world were any idiot can pick up a digital camera for an intended Kodak moment. We may be able to see and hear everything in the film just fine, but what’s the point when not an iota of the running time suggests creativity, inspiration, or ideas? Such soul-sucked tedium being the case, Shutter is a film of depressingly bad proportions, and that’s even before taking the lousy plot into consideration. Having not seen the original, I cannot attest to this version’s consistency or faithfulness, but I do know that this film’s tale of a just-married couple visiting Japan—only to find themselves haunted by the spirit of a dead girl they may or may not have killed themselves—is so riddled with inconsistencies and gaps in logic as to approach Dead Silence for sheer narrative condescension. The undead reveal themselves through distorted photographs (cameras can apparently capture “emotional energy”—or something like that), but for all its technological blabber the film has nothing to say about the ways we respond to the paranormal, let alone the role of technology and suicide in modern Japanese society. A related premise was used to brilliant (and brilliantly terrifying) ends in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s great Pulse, whereas Shutter time and again resorts to rickety melodrama devoid of believable human behavior in its non-propulsion of the story, a mess of genre clichés that, were it not for the shrill bombast of the sound design, might very well evaporate into thin air. Hardly entertainment, it is the cinema of soma, and the only scary thought this film evokes regarding cameras is the fact that they’re very much capable of recording another movie like this.
- 20th Century Fox
- 85 min
- Masayuki Ochiai
- Luke Dawson
- Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor, Megumi Okina, David Denman, John Hensley, Maya Hazen, James Kyson Lee, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Kei Yamamoto, Daisy Betts, Adrienne Pickering
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: