Sight and Sound - 07/01/2008
"There are competently atmospheric chills, a few decent scares and one or two coups: a scene lit entirely by flashbulb blasts is genuinely panicky and suspenseful."
Treading territory similar to JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (2003), RINGU (1998), and ONE MISSED CALL (2003), all Asian horror films remade for American audiences, SHUTTER is the first English-language film for director Masayuki Ochiai, whose career has been primarily within the horror genre. The result is another potent ghost story able to conjure up feelings of dread through a single longhaired, poker-faced female apparition.
Newlywed New Yorkers Ben (Joshua Jackson, THE SKULLS) and Jane Shaw (Rachael Taylor, TRANSFORMERS) have traveled to Tokyo, where photographer Ben is investigating a potentially lucrative job opportunity. While driving on a dark road at night, the couple runs over a mysterious woman who seems to appear out of nowhere and can't be found after the accident. Over the next few days, Jane goes sightseeing while Ben works, only to see strange apparitions that also appear on the photos she takes. After Ben's photos show the same ghostly forms, he confesses that he knows something about the woman they ran over, but it may be too late to stop her trail of terror. Another Hollywood remake of an Asian horror film, SHUTTER has a tricky lineage: the 2004 original was made in Thailand, while this version is U.S.-financed, but shot mostly in Japan. By setting the film in Japan, director Ochiai retains an element of exoticism for American audiences, which also allows Ben and Jane to be out of their element, à la DON'T LOOK NOW. As the menacing spirit, Megumi, Megumi Okina is adept at conjuring fear with a simple glare in a minimal but effective performance. SHUTTER doesn't stretch the boundaries of horror cinema, but it provides a handful of decent shocks and a couple of crowd-pleasing gross-outs, all within the limits of a non-restrictive PG-13 rating.
Description by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment:
A picture-perfect honeymoon develops into a snapshot of terror in this bone-chilling shocker from executive producers of The Grudge and The Ring! Soon after New York newlyweds Ben (Joshua Jackson) and Jane (Rachael Taylor) arrive in Japan for Ben's latest photography assignment, they discover disturbing, ghostly reflections of a young woman in their own photos. This inexplicable "spirit image" may be connected to Ben's past, but she's determined to provide the couple with a horrifying future of relentless vengeance from which there is no escape!