Dull ‘Shutter’ will make you shudder with disdain

Thrilling? Not so much.   The Japanese remake of newly released horror movie “Shutter” is a disappointment compared to other Asian films that have been remade by Hollywood including “The Ring” in 2002 and “The Grudge” in 2004. 

More mystery than horror, the film attempts to create a scary plot with the eerie observation of ghosts in a picture.

Newlywed couple Jane (Rachel Taylor) and Ben (Joshua Jackson) travel to Japan for their honeymoon. Ben also has a fashion shoot opportunity to further his career.  

As the couple reaches its destination, it is distracted by a young girl that causes them to slam into a tree. 

Perplexed as to why the body did not show up at the scene, the couple ignores the incident only to observe the same girl in photos that have been taken.  

The audience is introduced to the phenomenon of “spirit photography” in the beginning of the movie, but the ghost of later discovered Megumi Tanaka is seen in windows and in three-dimensional. This creates confusion. 

Ben’s familiarity with Tokyo does not help Jane, a visitor, as the two venture off to do their individual tasks on a daily basis. Consumed with his fashion shoot, Ben causes distance between he and Jane, creating a place for the ghost to reside.

The girl attempts to seduce Ben, which makes the plot predictable as the ghost appears in his dark room and in pictures standing next to him.

In one scene, Ben is caressed by the young girl, who he thinks is his wife, when the phone rings.  As he answers the phone only to hear the voice of Jane, he realizes that the touch did not come from his wife but that of Megumi. 

Terrified, he drops the phone and re-enters the room to discover the too familiar long black-haired girl sitting home in his chair.

Using the same look for the girl who is supposed to bring horror in each Japanese remake is not wise.  The movie automatically becomes associated with another.  “The Grudge” should have been the last of that strange girl.

The acting was not enticing enough to make the plot feel believable. Each actor just followed a script to make sure the character was portrayed, instead of bringing something to the role. 

The few scary moments and mysterious plot kept were the only ways the movie could have survived.

Directed by Masayuki Ochiai, a Japanese film director, the film debuted Friday and did not host a screening for movie critics; I wonder why? 

This PG-13 movie had potential but with similarities to other Asian remakes and a bad cast, “Shutter” is definitely disappointing.  A well-crafted film is worth seeing, but this one does not fit into the category. 

If you are dying to see a horror flick and get a couple of thrills, then this one is not the best choice.  Cheap thrills and a somewhat interesting plot are all you will receive.

Grade: C