Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Shutter Movie Poster Image
Bad script, so-so scares mar Asian horror remake.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 13 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A grumpy husband yells at his wife; a ghost haunts several people; characters lie and commit violent acts.


Car accident early in the film shows victim slammed by vehicle and tumbling under the wheels, and the car screeching and crashing into a tree. Repeated tense scenes in dark hallways or rooms; several jump scenes in which a ghost, shadow, or person appears unexpectedly. In the darkroom, Ben splashes a chemical on his face and hallucinates blood all over his eyes and face. A camera eyepiece explodes into a photographer's eye, leaving him dead (bloody face in close-up). A man leaps from a balcony with a thud (close-up of a bloody head/eye). Ghost sticks ugly long tongue in Ben's mouth; he gags and coughs and appears to suffocate. Photos show sexual assault on a woman. Man electrocutes himself.


Newlyweds kiss and embrace passionately, then the wife suggests they "get this thing consummated," though nothing is shown. Some bra-and-panties shots of women -- one straddling a man, another posing for pictures. Ghost climbs into bed with Ben and pulls her dress over her head, showing her back, which is decomposed and gross.


One use of "f--k," plus other profanity, including "s--t" and "goddammit."


Mac laptops; neon signs in Tokyo show various brand names.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink champagne, wine, beer. Men put date-rape drug in a woman's drink.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this horror movie includes some graphic violence, including the bloody effects of a ghost's assaults on victims. There's also a jarring car accident; a leap from a balcony that has a hard, bloody ending on the sidewalk; and a camera eyepiece that pierces a character's eye. The ghost appears repeatedly in shadows and scares people. A sexual assault appears in photos and a flashback scene. The movie also includes some sexual imagery, showing women in bras and panties, as well as naked backs. There's some language and drinking, and a scene shows men agreeing to put a date-rape drug in a woman's wine.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPoefan October 14, 2009

Just plain bad

Really bad American remake that totally gives the original a bad name. I am sick of this watered-down PG-13 crap that America is spewing out these days, where i... Continue reading
Adult Written byashadoodle April 9, 2008

So-So Scary Movie

In terms of horror, it was hit and miss. Not terribly scary, but big plot twists and gross situations (rotting corpse, obsessive ghost.) The final plot twist re... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymilkandhoney May 9, 2011


i think nobody should watch it personally
the storyline is a bit off and it's not scary
considering the sexual parts...not that bad but still probably not... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybananalover March 19, 2011

don't get the thai version

this movie is really scary but don't get the thai version because you have to read the headings and the movie is so interesting that you don't want to... Continue reading

What's the story?

Bad things always seem to happen to unsuspecting blonde girls when they head East in remakes of Asian Extreme horror movies. SHUTTER -- a remake of a 2004 Thai movie -- is no exception, focusing on the haunting of Jane (Rachael Taylor) by a young Japanese woman's ghost. At first Jane thinks she killed Megumi (Megumi Okina) when she hit her with a car, but she can't convince her photographer husband, Ben (Joshua Jackson), that the accident even happened. It's a rough start to their honeymoon in Tokyo; soon Jane -- a plucky American feeling alienated in the city's crowded streets and neon signage -- starts investigating on her own. And when white blurs start appearing in Ben's photos, Jane researches "spirit photos," which an expert tells her show "strong emotions making themselves heard."

Is it any good?

Shifting the location to Tokyo and setting Caucasian stars against a Japanese ghost (the original features all Thai characters) changes the movie's haunting dynamic. On one level it's yet another instance of a white woman stalked by a vengeful Asian ghost. But on another, as Jane comes to understand the reasons for Megumi's anger, the women realize a shared grievance premised on gender imbalance and sexual abuses. It's hardly revolutionary for a scary movie to have a Caucasian woman wandering frightened through Tokyo, harassed by some supernatural phenomenon. But Shutter is almost perversely upfront in connecting privileged, self-justifying Caucasian men with the problem at its core.

And yet, despite this potential complexity, the movie lapses repeatedly into tired conventions. The "scares" are bloody but not very clever, the plot increasingly silly. In part this is a function of lapses in the script, as explanatory scenes pop up in strange places and a voiceover fills in for scenes missing altogether. Jane's plucky resilience makes her sympathetic, and when at last she literally leaves the movie before its end, you admire her sudden good judgment and wish her well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this movie is similar to and different from other horror films based on Asian originals. What do these movies tend to have in common? What makes this one different? Families can also discuss how the movie uses both technology and legends to create suspense.

Movie details

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