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SHUTTER

SYNOPSIS:
Successful photographer Ben (Joshua Jackson) returns to Tokyo for a major fashion shoot with his bride Jane (Rachael Taylor). While night driving through woods to a country cottage for the weekend, their car runs over a young woman in the middle of the road, but neither they nor the police find any trace of the victim. Back at work in Tokyo, Ben starts seeing strange white blurs in his photos, which are soon identified as 'spirit photos', a phenomenon so frequent in Japan there is even a magazine devoted to it. Unnerved and increasingly frightened, Ben and Jane soon discover that there is a connection between the woman they ran over in the forest and the haunting that escalates from ghosting on photos to deadly proportions in their very real and scary world. And the connection is Ben ....

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Made in the mould of Japanese horror films (exec producer handled The Grudge and The Ring) by Japanese director Masayuki Ochiai - but written by wide-eye Luke Dawson - Shutter sticks slavishly to its genre roots. Including the spiritual ghost with long black hair and a grudge.... This tends to make it all rather predictable, and often irritatingly derivative. The cheap scares manufactured out of exaggerated sound effects or flickering lights and people moving at half speed grow tiresome.

Also annoying are inconsistencies like the accident scene in which the young couple run over a woman on a dark road. As they cruise through the forest looking at a map for directions, the car is travelling at a modest speed - perhaps 50kph. But when the car hits the woman - sound of two MiG jets crashing - it spins out of control a couple of times and swerves off the road into a tree as if it were doing 100kph. Am I being picky?

The notion of ghosts in the photos could have worked better if the ghost didn't also materialise and float about off camera, as it were, being everything that the filmmakers find useful, from a spirit to physical force. But that's par for the course, too.

Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor do the best they can with a screenplay that is either too obvious or too silly. The story isn't all bad, though, with its dramatic revelations about the young woman's past as it links to Ben's. I readily admit this is my least favourite of genres, but even if I were a fan, I'd want more attention paid to the details. That's where the devil is.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

SHUTTER (MA)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor, Megumi Okina, David Denman, Joh Hensley, Maya Hazen, James Kyson Lee, Yoshiko Miyazaki

PRODUCER: Doug Davison, Takashige Ichise, Roy Lee

DIRECTOR: Masayuki Ochiai

SCRIPT: Luke Dawson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Katsumi Yanagishima

EDITOR: Tim Alverson, Michael N. Knue

MUSIC: Nathan Barr

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Norifumi Ataka

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 15, 2008







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