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Reviewed by Matthew Bey, © 2008

Format: Movie
By:   Masayuki Ochiai
Genre:   Horror
Review Date:   March 27, 2008
Audience Rating:   PG-13
RevSF Rating:   2/10 (What Is This?)

Before we get too far into this, you should know that the most terrifying part of Shutter is its movie poster. It's kinda freaky.

Word on the street is that Shutter is an American remake of a Thai horror film. If you aren't familiar with Asian horror movies of recent years here's the formula: Something spooky happens involving consumer technology, then the heroine does a Nancy Drew investigation into the spookiness, and at the end there's a revelatory twist.

At its best, Asian horror maintains an air of supernatural suspense even within the trappings of modernity. Shutter completely fails at this.

In the opening scenes cameras flash with reckless abandon as a newlywed couple (played by moderately attractive gaijin Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor) go to Japan to start their new life together and promptly run a woman over with their car.

Then spooky things start to show up in all the pictures. At least they're supposed to be spooky, but they pretty much look like the hokiest photoshopping this side of the Weekly World News.

I mean, sheesh, double-exposure images were invented twenty minutes after pornography, it's not exactly a new trick.

The tagline on Shutter's freaky poster is: "THE MOST TERRIFYING IMAGES ARE THE ONES THAT ARE REAL." Too bad Shutter didn't bother to make the images realistic.

Let's forget for a moment that Shutter telegraphs the twist ending from a zillion miles away, and ask ourselves, why doesn't Asian horror translate into American productions?

It's not just Hollywood's sad lack of creativity, there's something more. Personally, I think that American actors have too much blood in their faces.

Or more likely, Hollywood culture won't allow the sort of blue-filter effects that make actors look like half their blood has drained out of them already. We gotta keep our actors pretty you know.

Or maybe American characters have a hard time relating to the nightmares of other cultures. They're out of place in J-Horror flicks, like a hockey-mask maniac in a pachinko parlor.

Matthew Bey ain't scared of no images.

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