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Remake Grabs Your Jugular, Then Rips It Out

By Staff | Mar 26, 2008

Adapted from a Japanese thriller, “Shuttter” readily steps into similar supernatural manifestations that have chilled “The Ring,” “The Grudge” and “Sixth Sense” viewers. Granted, the plot’s ultimate premise and climax has a stale sting, yet it startles past the mundane like a so-so snapshot turned almost awesome by Photoshop enhancer tinkering.

Young newlywed Jane (Rachael Taylor) beams “this is what I get for marrying a photographer,” referring to his constant urge to snap photos of her. However, the union between Ben (Joshua Jackson) and Jane turns eerie not long after eating cake, snapping pics and consummating the marriage prior to a Japan assignment. On a lonely road late at night, Jane hits a Japanese woman; no body can be found.

Tormented by the excruciating eyes of the beautiful brunette, legally blonde Jane cannot blot the phantom’s image from her head.

Her husband would chalk it up to a bad case of post-marital nerves until white reflections and an unknown and unseen model crashes his shoot.

“Shutter” possesses all the awesomeness and chills you can anticipate from an eerie ghost story — without the need for splatter. Instead, a light suddenly putting everyone in a spooky darkness, rushes of wind breaking the interior of a high rise window, and a plain gal sitting very still in a chair rattle your bones far more so than repeatedly gross internal gut displays.

Maintaining (three cheers!) the supernatural premise, rather than resorting to a cop out natural explanation, the film touches on the cult of “spirit” photography slyly slipping to a macabre quest for the last resting place of the unsettled spirit. As clues mount, the cry for a ghostbuster rises to critical mass.

Despite hints of the female spirit’s origin while not sneaking in turnaround twisters, the climax avoids fatal missteps. “Shutter” grabs you from the first flashing of the departed brunette’s obsessive eyes, inserts a shattering fear factor, and goes for the jugular. Then, with startling eloquence steps back from the cliff, allows for a few moments of sighing, and rips both your jugular and heart with its accent on the surreal, bizarre, and the never loosening grip of an angry apparition.

Give Rachael Taylor (“See No Evil”) an ouija board for reframing from Jamie Lee Curtis screams, for sticking to intelligent and rational portrayals, and for not allowing any hair color stereotypes to impact. As for Joshua Jackson, himself a veteran of made for TV flicks and forgettable features, he’s almost too laid back in flaunting masculine ‘in charge’ decision making. The artistic and sensitive nature Jackson’s found, yet he’s not as comfortable with certain necessary foreshadowing that influences the photographer’s personality.

SEMI SPOILER WARNING: Words of wisdom: Be kind to your ex(s), if you don’t want nightmares of a stalker from the afterlife.


Contact Tony at trutherford@graffitiwv.com