A young couple races down a dark, deserted stretch of road. Out of nowhere, someone appears on the road and the young couple tears into her. Shook up, the couple heatedly discuss what to do, with a corpse on the road, and quickly decide to leave it lying there.
Sound familiar? The Shutter starts with an I Know What You Did Last Summer twist, and continues through its 95 minutes stealing from, er paying homage to, all sorts of horror films. There’s a creepy, long, black-haired Asian girl slinking out of regular household objects a la Ringu, and strange effects keep happening to photographs as in Ju-On (The Grudge). In some ways, it is very much a pastiche of other horror films.
Don’t let that discourage you from seeing this film, for though it doesn’t come out all that original, it still manages to be effectively horrifying. The tension builds quite nicely, and there were more than a few moments where I was squirming in my seat.
Post running over the poor girl, the couple – Tun (Ananda Everingham) and Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee) – begin experiencing some strange, even supernatural, events. A young girl begins haunting their dreams and even appearing in the shadows, the bathroom sink, and their photographs. Tun is a photographer by trade, and he begins finding strange white streaks in his most recent photographs, followed by shadowy glimpses of a girl. Could it be the girl they ran over?
They follow the photographs to people who collect pictures of the dead, of ghosts, and discover a few old mysteries along the way. As they attempt to find out why they are being haunted, and losing a few friends via suicide, they discover more about this mystery girl and each other.
As an audience, we are treated to a handful of really effective films that amp up the tension and give us more than a little fright.
There are a few scenes in which the camera rolls over a series of “real” photographs borrowed from actual true believers outside the confines of the film. I had seen some of these pictures on ghost websites, and though I am completely skeptical, those scenes creeped the crap out of me.
The score is amazingly well done, being filled with clatters and screams and freaky noises even in the non “scary” scenes adding a surreal mood for the entire film.
On a purely critical level, there are several things to dislike. Many of its effects are taken directly from other films, and there are a few giant holes in the plot upon which to frown. But ultimately, it is very effective at what it attempts to do. That is to create a creepy hour and a half in which to scare the bejeesus out of its audience.
2 thoughts on “Shutter (2004)”
Cool! I’m going to Netflix it.
That’s right–I said NETFLIX.
I don’t know why you think I have a beef with netflix. I’ve used them before and rather enjoyed their service. I only choose blockbuster over them because they give me free in store rentals. And with a store but a few blocks away, I can’t pass that up.