No ‘Shudder’ for Asian Horror Flick ‘Shutter’

Eric Konarki

A picture is worth a thousand words.
The most recent remake of an Asian horror flick is “Shutter.”

“Shutter” is the frightening and suspenseful story of a photographer and his new bride who arrive for a photo shoot while on their honeymoon in Japan. When Jane has a horrible accident on the way to Mt. Fiji, they discover spooky and spiritual images in photographs they develop. The newlyweds become determined to establish an understanding of these “spirit photos.”

Benjamin Shaw, a commercial photographer, played by Joshua Jackson (“Dawson’s Creek,” 1998 -2003) is a mysterious character. You are skeptical about him throughout the entire movie. Jackson’s performance is extremely mediocre and unprofessional and with his many TV and movie credits he should have performed better.

Ben’s beautiful new blushing bride, the suspicious and caring, Jane, played by Rachael Taylor (“Transformers,” 2007) produces an exceptional performance. Her acting is very natural and well done. She held the movie together.

Megumi Tanaka played by Megumi Okina, (“Inugamike No Ichizuko [The Inugmais],” 2006) is a very spooky and disturbing character. Her portrayal of an obsessed lover is admirable.

Bruno, Ben’s colleague and friend, played by David Denman (“Smart People,” 2008) is an intriguing character. Although you pick up a friendly vibe from him, he is also very mysterious.

John Hensley’s (“Nip/Tuck,” 2003-2008) performance of Adam is very hostile, and exposed Adam as a male chauvinist.

“Shutter” is mainly set in Tokyo, Japan. The streets of Tokyo are very crowded, but the city is beautiful and full of culture. There are many scenes in dark and mysterious settings, but other scenes are full of vibrant colors and expressions.

The costumes in “Shutter” are contemporary and modern. The kimonos in the photo shoot are filled with beautiful, bright colors. Jane’s wedding gown was traditional, puffy and white.

The costumes of the ensemble, throughout the crowded city of Tokyo, are very stylized, with many characters in contemporary dress; but there are also harajuku girls dressed in extravagant colors, shapes, hair, and make-up running around the city.

Director, Masayuki Ochiai (“Kansen” [Infection], 2004) brings the dead to life and leaves everyone wondering what’s going to happen next.

Screenwriter Luke Dawson (“New York Stories,” 2003) wrote an interesting combination of both a thriller and horror story.

The plot for “Shutter” is suitable for a scary movie. Despite one or two characters, the choices in characters were good. The movie is more suspenseful and thrilling than scary and horrific. The combination of an Asian story and horror usually equals to a scary and entertaining night at the movies. Just like “The Ring,” 2002, and “The Grudge,” 2004, have done in the past, “Shutter” has continued down the path of scary Asian horror flicks.

Cast: Joshua Jackson (Benjamin Shaw), Rachael Taylor (Jane Shaw), Megumi Okina (Megumi Tanaka), David Denman (Bruno), John Hensley (Adam)

Runtime : 85 minutes.
Rating: PG-13

1.5 stars out of 4