I suppose it serves the powers that be right, but most of the criticism that could be levelled at Shutter has more to do with the whole tired J-horror sub genre than bad filmmaking.

The concept feels eerily similar to White Noise, since the film concerns itself with ‘spirit photography’ (what the rest of us cynics would call double exposure).Shutter Of course, in this digital age it’s hard to really pay any attention to this phenomenon, which is probably why expert Ritsuo (James Kyson Lee from ‘Heroes’) tells Jane (Rachael Taylor) that the only way to be sure is by using a Polaroid camera. Jane’s tagging along with her husband Benjamin, a top-notch photographer with an assignment in Japan. They’ve only just gotten hitched, and the trip is a honeymoon of sorts. Of course, before you can say Sadako, some scary Japanese woman keeps popping up in photographs, scaring the bejesus out of Jane.

The scares are actually quite efficient. Where the US Ring was distracted by fancy special effects, Shutter keeps it nice and simple. For those who haven’t seen any similar films like Dark Water, The Eye or The Grudge, this might actually give you the jitters.

Taylor is fantastic, and goes beyond the call of duty to make Jane feel real. It’s rather extraordinary, actually. One only needs to witness Jessica Alba in The Eye to see just how bland characterisations can be in films like this. I genuinely hope Taylor quickly moves onto work that will allow her to show off her skills better. Joshua Jackson is fine, though his character is kind of bland.

Shutter feels like just another Japanese ghost story (though it’s actually based on the 2004 Thai film of the same name), but it’s effective enough. The pacing is great and the film is strengthened by Taylor’s fantastic performance. However, I can’t imagine that audiences really crave any more of these adaptations, especially considering the low rating this receives in IMDb.

Rating: 3.0 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 27th May 2008
Hoopla Factor: 3.0 stars

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