Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Tun and his girlfriend Jane are driving late at night down a dark country road. Suddenly an unexpected figure walks into the path of the car, and unable to avoid in time they hit the unfortunate pedestrian.
In a panic they flee the scene and head back to their lives in Bangkok. Soon after their return home Tun, who is a freelance photographer, begins seeing strange figures appearing in his photos, and Jane begins having restless sleeps and recurring nightmares. Deciding to return to the scene of the accident they are shocked to discover that there has been no account of a hit and run, or any records of a victim at any hospitals. But things only get stranger from then on when Tun realizes that they have not been chosen by this ghost at random, but that he has a very close connection to this vengeful spirit, and some of the mistakes he made in the past are literally coming back to haunt him!
On the surface Shutter might come off as yet another one of the many Asian Ghost stories dealing with the usual pale ghostly woman with long black hair, showing up for a quick scare and quickly vanishing as the poor protagonist takes a second look. It may come off as another one of these films because, well, it is.
However Shutter has a lot going for it that puts it a step or two above this rapidly crowding genre. The story, though not entirely original, is told with great pacing, and the film itself offers some great visuals. The hit and run scene in particular is done with some very sharp editing, and there are a couple very nicely put together flashback scenes with a very effective use of music.
The ghost photos, which are the films main gimmick, are also its greatest asset. Though I am sure watching a little girl crawl through your television set, hearing your death on a cell phone message, or watching an angry mother crawl down the stairs with a broken neck could be a scary situation to be in. But can you honestly say that taking a Polaroid of your living room only to find a ghostly image standing in front of you when the picture develops seconds later would not be far worse?
In one memorable and chilling scene, Tan and Jane travel to a supernatural tabloid magazine to try and get some information on the Ghostly images. For this scene the films directors actually sought out and used real pictures found in archives, and submitted by friends and family. In this particular scene the owner of the magazine, which for the most part creates its own fake ghost pictures, is showing them real pictures he has collected over the years, including Polaroids which he points out are impossible to forge. This information will prove very important for the film’s final scenes.
Is Shutter scary? That all depends, as good as the film is, the scares have been done, a lot! There are some chilling moments, all of which involve the photos. If you have seen enough Asian horror films then unfortunately this will probably not scare you, but it is very much worth a watch . Also keep it in mind for that one scene mentioned above, because a lot of the photos you see in that particular scene may very well be real photos of who knows what.
A Film by Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom.