Schlock Shelf – Shutter
Shutter (2008) is a horror film that was shot in Japan and tells the story of a newly married couple who can’t get rid of a ghost. The husband is a photographer, sent to Japan on a long-term assignment, who brings his wife along to enjoy the city while he works. The ghost starts making trouble for them and she tries to get to the bottom of it. Oh, she gets to the bottom, alright…
On the first day in Japan, the wife, Jane (Rachael Taylor), runs over a girl on a backroad while driving. The girl isn’t anywhere to be found when the husband and wife regain consciousness. The police don’t appear to be worried since they can’t find any trace of a body, blood, or footprints.
The husband, Ben (Joshua Jackson), starts his new job immediately and is put up in a really nice apartment with a photography studio on one of the lower floors. Jane is a little uncomfortable with all of the beautiful Japanese women who have been hired to help her husband do photo shoots. Jane starts noticing that there are these white hazy images in all of the photos she’s in, starting the day after the girl she hit disappeared.
Ben doesn’t think it’s anything, but Ben’s assistant thinks it’s some sort of spirit photo. Her boyfriend works for some ghost-hunting magazine in Tokyo, and they arrange to have them meet and talk about this particular phenomenon. Then, while on a photo shoot, Ben begins to see things that aren’t there, and his photos aren’t turning out like he’d like them to. The spirit starts ruining his shots and starts affecting his job.
Jane goes to check out her husband’s company, since the spirits in the photo seems to be pointing at one of the floors of the headquarters building. She goes into the building and up to the floor that the light in the photos seem to be indicating. She starts taking photos with a Polaroid, because the magazine editor said that spirit photos can’t be faked in Polaroids, since they don’t have a negative. Sure enough, the spirit appears in her photos and leads her to start piecing this puzzle together. Things start to get creepy, then go a little haywire in the photo studio after the models and assistants leave. Jane finds out that this spirit is the ghost of a girl her husband had a relationship with before the wife even entered the picture. And, as it turns out, this husband and wife aren’t the only ones who can see this ghost.
This movie wasn’t nearly as scary as I had expected, based on the other movies this executive producer team has done (The Ring, The Grudge). There were more “Really? Come on!” moments than any sort of scary moments. There was a little bit of suspense, but I’ve seen scarier in some PG-13 movies. The CGI is pretty fakey, and not really believable at all (as usual). The “unrating” in this film isn’t worth it—not a single gratuitous nudity shot, and there’s only one scene where a guy jumps off a roof. There’s nothing here that needed to be rated in the first place, to be honest. Only one little twist made the plot slightly better than linear, which was sad, since they probably could have done some fun things with it. Sadly, this is not really worth the time watching, even if you like the filmmakers’ other work.
(2 out of 5 fus)