Shutter (Review)

Unlike New Weekly magazine I have no snappy caption for this.

Unlike New Weekly magazine I have no snappy caption for this.

This is the original Thai version, not the US remake that I have heard is rubbish, as most remakes are. The Ring being the most notable example.

In an unprecedented first for OGR I did a few clicks research to find that the original Shutter was rated a paltry 40%, but the US remake was universally loathed with a 7% grade. Before this I hadn’t seen either but as a rule of thumb where I have the chance I’ll check the original first.

Now 40 minutes in I thought I was watching a remake anyway, that of an amalgamation of The Ring and The Grudge. There were repeated occasions where the scares seemed directly ripped from either of those pretty good flicks, and even the ghost (when in ghost-mode) looked exactly like the pale chick from Ju-on (The Grudge). Even though Shutter partially redeems itself in the last 15 minutes I was a little disappointed by these scenes that blurred the line between homage and copying.

The first scene is pointless, unless you are a fan of what appears to be bad acting by a guy with a Thai Jerry Lewis voice (it’s hard to pick bad acting when you don’t understand the language). However on the way home from the drinking session the central couple Jane and Tun are sorta chatting in the car when a girl appears out of nowhere on the road and is promptly bowled over. After realising what has happened and making sure they are both OK Tun urges Jane to drive off without checking on the victim, and as she is in a state of panic she agrees.

In the ensuing days Jane starts regretting her indecisiveness, and the next 20 minutes are straight Ring-lite. It turns out that Tun is a photographer and after completing a job he finds all of his exposures are blurry and in one particular shot it appears there is a “mystery” guest. The Ghost appears at various spots, each time with a personal “BOO” soundtrack jolt and many times with the old misdirection trick of the guy looking one way, then turning back to be face-to-face with their would be assailant.

A better title at this point in the film would have been “Ghost Camera”, lousy title but reflective of what had transpired to that point. Upon visiting a tabloid magazine it turns out that the best way to get a true, tamper proof picture using a polaroid camera is the go, as it only shows what it sees.

Then things gradually take a turn for the better, Jerry Lewis shows at tun’s pad pleading for the “photos” before abruptly disappearing. Then Tun discovers that Jerry and the other two faceless amigos from the opening scene in the movie have all topped themselves, Tun understandably gets even more concerned, and Jane says she’ll stand by him.

Cut to a baffling scene in the public loos, only a 2 minute scene but worthwhile nonetheless, as without spoilers it is pretty funny.

Even though the first hour and a bit should owe royalties to The Grudge and The Ring, the movie is redeemed and worth watching for the last 15 minutes alone. There are a couple of scenes that provide real chills and the payoff is actually cool and original.

Turns out that the ghost has a name, as many movie ghosts do – Natre. Can’t say much more about the plot without giving things away so I’ll wind up with a few questions that this movie raises:

– Why haven’t Thai car manufacturers gotten better worldwide recognition? In one scene Tun is driving at 120 km/ph and is able to veer off the road and stop before leaving the bitumen, that’s 120 km/ph to 0 within the width of two lanes!

– If you own your own darkroom in your house why would you get your holiday happy snaps developed at the local photo shop.

– If you have anything that you would rather no-one else saw, why would you leave it lying around the house?

Final Rating – 7 / 10. Pretty sure it isn’t worth a 7 overall, but a good ending will help you ignore many of the faults and flaws in the first hour.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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