Shutter Movie Review - Do You Believe In Ghosts?

SHUTTER - A Twentieth Century Fox Motion Picture


SHUTTER starts out eerily, with a creepy sound track that will keep you chilled throughout the movie. The subject matter is specifically on spirit photography. Spirit photography is images of the dead that are caught on film – the images sort of look like a white streak of light. In Japan the belief is higher because ghosts mean more to the Japanese than Americans.

Megumi (Megumi Okina) is a haunting presence on a lonely road near Mt. Fuji


This movie comes from the same executive producers of “The Grudge” and “The Ring” so you know there is something that will sneak up on your nerves. This film gave me the chills. In fact, I was so scared, I had a stomach ache after the movie.

Jane (Rachel Taylor) is troubled by a room full of disturbing spirit photography imagery


SHUTTER begins with photographer Ben ( Joshua Jackson) and his new wife Jane ( Rachael Taylor) on his new assignment – a lucrative fashion shoot in Tokyo – which is supposed to be a kind of working honeymoon.  With this exotic professional opportunity and the limitless possibilities of a new marriage, Ben and Jane arrive in Japan.  But as they make their way on a mountain road leading to Mt. Fuji, their new life together comes to, literally, a crashing halt. The movie gets you hooked from the beginning as their car smashes into a woman standing in the middle of the road, who has materialized out of nowhere.  Upon regaining consciousness after the accident, Ben and Jane cannot find any trace of the girl.

Jane (Rachael Taylor) and stricken husband Ben (Joshua Jackson) are terrified by an unseen force


Needless to say, this is when my stomach began to jumble--I’m such a baby. Anyway, Jane knows something is wrong and she does a very good job at getting her feelings across the screen - you feel sorry and scared for her. In this movie, I sort of knew what was coming, but the soundtrack gave me goose-bumps, I was shaking throughout the movie.

The mystery - and horrors - behind disturbing, ghostly photographic images become all too clear for Ben (Joshua Jackson)


As the newlyweds try to enjoy their new life together, they start to notice blurs on several pictures they took, and learn that the blurs represent spirit photography.  Meanwhile, Ben begins noticing strange white blurs in many of his fashion shoot photographs. Jane tells him what's going on, and they visit a guru about this phenomenon. When they hear what he has to say, more trouble follows.

Jane (Rachel Taylor) makes a shocking discovery


Spirit photography has been riddled with controversy and fraud, yet many believe it to be one of the few methods of capturing ghostly phenomenon that approaches scientific methodology. Magazines devoted to spirit photography proliferate throughout Asia, and new internet sites devoted to the subject spring up every day.  New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art recently hosted an exhibit devoted to spirit photography, called “The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult.” There are never-ending links on the internet about how ghosts and paranormal energy are captured on film.

Ben (Joshua Jackson) startles his wife Jane (Rachel Taylor), who has already been unnerved by a series of mysterious and disturbing events


In talking with Joshua Jackson, he says he's skeptical about the phenomenon of spirit photography. He did say, emphatically, that he enjoyed working with his female co-star and there was great chemistry. In talking with the Australian actress, Rachael Taylor, she too, wasn't a true believer in spirit photography, but said she is more open to the idea, “If something is really strong, it will find a way to materialize or send a message.” She also said there were a few scenes that frightened her.

Director Masayuki Ochiai maps out a scene on the set of SHUTTER


SHUTTER is based on the 2004 film of the same name, which became the highest grossing film in Thailand. The horror-thriller was directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom. I was spooked throughout this mystery, horror film. I thought the two main characters were appropriately cast, and the real star of this thriller was the actual ghost played by Megumi Okina.

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