What happened? I really, really don’t understand. Just last week I revisited Gore Verbinski’s remake of THE RING. Besides wanting to scare my wife, I needed confirmation that the film was truly excellent and not just the first in a long line of knock-offs. My thought process was that if I watched THE RING now, and it was still fantastic, that would mean that a Japanese remake COULD still be good. If it was bad it would just leave me with the conclusion that nothing can be good and that the genre is warn out. Without a shadow of a doubt, THE RING is a masterpiece of horror – confirming my thoughts that maybe, just maybe something will be just as scary, unnerving and creepy once again… and 20th Century Fox’s SHUTTER isn’t it.
SHUTTER is a remake of a Thai ghost story that follows a newly married couple that discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. Fearing the manifestations may be connected; they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved. The original film is, by far, one of my favorite international horror films to date – and even hitting theaters after all of the RINGU films and THE EYE, it still found a way to bring terror into our lives. So what went wrong with the remake?
Fox’s cookie cutter remake somehow dropped the ball in delivering what the original had to offer. This is completely odd considering that the Thai version was just a rip-off of everything before it. So what the hell went wrong? How about EVERYTHING?
On a basic level, the idea behind SHUTTER is pretty cool and it worked wonders in the Thai version. Unfortunately this remake was fractured, especially with the pacing. The film had no traction, and the mystery behind our main characters and their ghosts didn’t feel severe enough to make us give a sh-t. People didn’t begin to die until I wanted to leave the theater. There was a line in the movie where Joshua Jackson’s character yells, “let’s go” – I wish I exclaimed “ok” and walked out of the theater.
But back on track, I have a laundry list of reasons why SHUTTER was a complete let down, starting with the cinematography. The film was too bright, not menacing and had zero suspense. In THE RING, there was a blue tone throughout the film which makes you feel on edge something SHUTTER does not posses. Then, there was the horrendous special FX, which someone better be ready to be embarrassed about. You could see the layers when they added the ghost, the light didn’t match anything added and when they tried to be creepy, it looked like something out of a video game. Also, it didn’t help that the girl cast as the ghost wasn’t scary the least bit – she was actually kind of hot, if you ask me. She can haunt me any day. Next was the laughable OC-like cast of Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor who mixed with cliché fake scares only made the film a f-cking joke. Adding further to the films misery was the score/soundtrack that was incredibly odd, offbeat – it was almost trying too hard to be “hip” and thus took away all suspense and added further to our OC horror extravaganza. It didn’t help that the screenplay was filled with laughable lines, such as, “My ex-boyfriend works for a spirit magazine!” There were the constant continuity problems, for example, the time between when the “incident” happens and when the ghost decides to haunt our OC teens. Why does she wait so long? Lastly, I think that Japan has been used & abused and just isn’t scary anymore. It’s almost obnoxious that the characters are all American in Japan, because for some odd reason girls with long black hair HAVE to be from Japan. Fish out of water horror films are long gone… get over it.
The original was a rip-off and it rocked, so there’s no reason for this remake to suck as bad as it did. SHUTTER should have been the scariest horror film since THE RING, but instead it was Infuriatingly bad. This movie joins ONE MISSED CALL in the ranks of worst horror remakes of all-time and I highly recommend skipping this one in favor of the original, which is now available on DVD from Tartan Extreme.