Shutter

  • 2005
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Horror

This derivative but spooky Thai ghost story was remade in the US in 2008, with Japanese genre specialist Masayuki Ochiai directing; as in English-language reworking of THE GRUDGE (2004), the main characters are American, but most of the action takes place in Japan. After a night of drinking with friends, Bangkok photographer Tun (Ananda Everingham)...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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This derivative but spooky Thai ghost story was remade in the US in 2008, with Japanese genre specialist Masayuki Ochiai directing; as in English-language reworking of THE GRUDGE (2004), the main characters are American, but most of the action takes place in Japan.

After a night of drinking with friends, Bangkok photographer Tun (Ananda Everingham) and his girlfriend, Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee), hit a woman who suddenly appears in the middle of a dark road. Jane, who's driving, is about to get out and go to the victim's aid, but Tun insists they leave the scene immediately. Months later, Jane is still haunted by the accident while Tun avoids the subject.

Then something begins to mar Jun's photos, starting with his shots of a college graduation ceremony: Thedy're mysteriously streaked and Jane notices what appears to be a woman's ghostly profile in the shadows of a group portrait of students from the science department. Tun later enlarges the image and for an instant, the face -- pale and distorted -- seems to turn and look directly at him. Both begin having grisly nightmares: Jane sees a long-haired ghost crawling out of a developing tray in Tun's darkroom, while Tun sees a bloody girl in a college lecture hall. Tun also has a series of creepy experiences in his studio and darkroom. Efforts to learn the identity of the woman they hit prove fruitless: No accidents were reported that night and no injured women were admitted to local hospitals. Jane nonetheless suspects that the ghost haunting Tun's pictures is the woman she ran down. An expert in spirit photography advises her to get a Polaroid camera: Negatives can be damaged or tampered with, but she can watch a Polaroid snapshot develop -- if she sees ghostly images on a Polaroid, she should take them seriously. On a hunch, Jane returns to the campus science building and takes a series of polaroids, one of which shows a shadowy woman hovering near a framed photo of a former student, Natrepena "Natre" Chang-Ngami (Achita Sikamana) -- could she have been the woman on the road? At the same time, Tun gets a disturbing visit from his college friend Tonn (Unnop Chanpaibool), whose marriage they were celebrating the night of the accident: Tonn rants about photographs and dying, then slips away when Tun's back is turned. What is the connection between Nastre and Tun?

First time writer-director team Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom owe a significant debt to Peter Straub's Ghost Story, which was filmed in 1981, and their genre influences range J-Horror to the American TV movie DON'T GO TO SLEEP (1982). But familiar though much of the film is, much of it is also effective, and the filmmakers put a clever spin on the familiar figure of the vengeful, black-haired ghost girl: Suffice it to say that Thai grannies must be on the same wavelength as their Irish counterparts, who counsel that it's not the dead you need to be afraid of. It's the living.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This derivative but spooky Thai ghost story was remade in the US in 2008, with Japanese genre specialist Masayuki Ochiai directing; as in English-language reworking of THE GRUDGE (2004), the main characters are American, but most of the action takes place… (more)

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