Here’s what I learned from watching the remake of “Shutter”:
1. Even purely Asian women look Caucasian only because they should.
2. There are such things as spirit photography magazines.
3. There are experts in spirit photography.
4. Ghosts love a good game of piggyback!
5. And Maya Hazen is a stone cold fox.
The biggest crime “Shutter” 2008 commits however is boredom, and as such it becomes an almost endless experience at only ninety minutes. Boredom is the worst enemy of any horror remake, and Masayuki Ochiai’s version of the 2004 supernatural thriller suffers from being a pretty tedious little journey involving blotches on pictures, the obvious inclination that husband Benjamin Shaw is not who he seems to be and the pretty apparent rip off of “What Lies Beneath” that ensues within the doldrums. Though not the worst horror movie of the year, “Shutter” works at being one of the most annoying as the ghost here is one of the least horrific Asian horror monsters I’ve ever seen who appears only to really sit around and freak you out with her cool body tricks and illusions and appear in photos to let you know that she’s mad.
She’s very mad. So mad that she ruins every photo she’s in; she also chases people down halls and in rooms doing nothing. She’s a passive aggressive mad bitch. She’s also extremely boring to watch because she has no personality. Star Rachael Taylor takes the film away which doesn’t say much when you consider that everyone in the movie is working at a two, even Joshua Jackson whose character looks like he was more fleshed out in the original drafts of the scripts but reduced to a mere supporting player. Taylor who does her best impression of Elizabeth Banks, is reduced to uncovering this unusual labyrinth of this revenge tale that we can already play out in our heads long before writer Luke Dawson holds our hands to show us who the actual monster in this tale is.
Spoiler alert: Benjamin is.
When writer Dawson has a hard time covering up what happened to the ghost to wait for the finale’s big surprise, he fails in also emphasizing character Jane’s alienation in Japan because she seems at home right away. There’s no tension in her travails around the cliché monuments and cosplayers, thus there’s really nothing to see here. And what of the adulterous allusions between character Seiko and Benjamin that are never confronted? Why does Rachael feel threatened by every woman? What was the argument between them all about and what relevance did it hold to the story?
The competence of Dawson and his four other screenwriters comes in to great question in “Shutter” when even the basest character flaws are completely under-developed and or never confronted, because then we’re left with just padding that feels tacked on to desperately create some form of conflict that obviously isn’t there. And the final twist involving Benjamin’s neck will go down as one of the most inadvertently funny moments I’ve ever seen. All in all, out of the list of horrible remakes I’ve experienced in 2008, “Shutter” really isn’t the worst one I’ve seen yet, but it sure does suck enough to rank up there. With one of the most inadvertently hilarious climaxes I’ve ever seen in a horror movie, “Shutter” is a passable time waster, one you could kill time with at a waiting room or airplane; just don’t bet on it as Grade A entertainment or for genuine scares, either.