Shutter Movie Poster Image

Shutter

(i)

 

Bad script, so-so scares mar Asian horror remake.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

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.

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:March 21, 2008
DVD/Streaming release date:July 14, 2008
Cast:Joshua Jackson, Megumi Okina, Rachael Taylor
Director:Masayuki Ochiai
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Horror
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:terror, disturbing images, sexual content and language.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old September 20, 2010

Good!

I usually don't like the asian remakes. I liked the Ring and The Ring Two, but the rest of them I didn't like. I didn't know if I was going to like this movie or not so I bought it and it was surprisingly very good! I definitely beat out all of my expectation! I wasn't bored for a second of it! mIt was really good! PS. The ending was amazing!!!!
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 is the real horror? This movie contains like one "f" word and some violence, and also a non-graphic sex scene. If you want to see something scary, watch the original.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
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 read the headings
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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