Shutter (2004)

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(editor’s note: this review was originally written a year ago when i dislocated my shoulder due to a seizure. since charlie brown uploaded his review of the remake, i thought now would be a good time to post this one. just note that the ending paragraph and hidden message photo are about a year old. i’m no longer fucked up with staples in my arm. it’s cool, yo. -andrew)

It’s quite hard to separate a lot of Asian Horror these days. With every film revolving around copious amounts of black hair, bulging eyes and white gowns; it’s safe to say we’ve seen it all. I reluctantly watched Thai horror film “Shutter” after hearing nothing but amazing reviews for its atmosphere and genuine scares. After the first twenty minutes, I was prepared to declare it a mix of “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Ringu” and “Ju-On: The Grudge”. Hell, it has the exact same “darkroom” scene as “Ju-On: The Grudge 2”. However, I sat back and took it all in and by the end of the film, I was left severely impressed. I thought about it for hours and recommended it to many. “Shutter” is like finding a needle in a haystack. Or should I say, like finding a grey hair on Sadako’s head.

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The story revolves around Tun, a young photographer, and his girlfriend Jane. After leaving a wedding celebration with their friends, they accidentally hit a young woman crossing the street. Tun urges Jane to drive away, which she does. Over the next few days, the two are plagued by whether or not the girl survived the accident. When Tun develops his latest roll of film, he notices odd shadows in nearly every shot. He even sees a ghostly face in one image. Soon, all of his friends start to commit suicide and our protagonists find that not only is their still life being haunted, but their real life as well.

Similar to much of the J-Horror fare we’ve become accustomed to, the film has its fair share of “boo” moments that are easy to brace yourself for. What surprised me, however, is how the majority of scares in “Shutter” are executed without overwhelming crescendos, but rely on silence and atmosphere to grip your nerves at the right moment. Some of the most frightening moments I could’ve hardly predicted or even noticed until they had fully formed.

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The other surprising element to “Shutter” is its plot. Like most Asian Horror, there are about three or four “endings” but the formula truly works for this film. The final plot twist, though frightening and disturbing, is genuinely heartbreaking in its own unique way. This is why the film has stuck with me so far. If anything, this film is almost a tragedy of sorts.

Well, I have to cut this review short. I don’t know if most of you know, but last week I severely dislocated and broke my shoulder. I had surgery recently and have been “one arm manning” it for you guys this past week. Anyhow, “Shutter” is a film that’s definitely worth a look. But don’t look too closely. You never know what you might see.

The Hidden Message:

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~ by exploitnation on April 3, 2008.

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