Written By: CM
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom
Producer: Yodphet Sudsawad
Writers: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Sopon Sukdapisit, et. al.
Date Released: September 9, 2004
Ananda Everingham as Tun
Natthaweeranuch Thongmee as Jane
Achita Sikamana as Natre
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
After running over a girl in a hit-and-run, couple Tun and Jane get haunted by the victim’s ghost through Tun’s photographs and Jane’s nightmares. The girl, who turns out to be Tun’s ex-girlfriend back in college, seems to be following the couple and disturbing their friends. Finding out three of his friends committed suicide, Tun fears he might be next.
Shutter (2004) has quite a few jump scares in small doses throughout the film. Crafted with the pattern of a traditional Asian horror flick, the ghost was quite terrifying and cheesy at the same time. Overall, there’s nothing stomach-churning, just pure agony from anticipation.
The Grave Review
Shutter (2004) is among one of the Asian horror films that were all the rage in the early 2000s. Just like The Grudge, the sensation surrounding this cult-favorite Thai film revolves around a vengeful ghost of a woman, seeking revenge and justice. Whether or not one prefers one or the other is a debate that has been going on especially when the hype started, but Shutter definitely stands alone as an effective revenge horror film.
If one watches this film now, it would probably be dismissed as a cheap Eastern horror trick filled with cheesy jump scares and an overly dramatic and unrealistic plot. True enough, this film is filled with jump scares to the point where it may make you cringe. This posthumous femme fatale story is nothing new now, but if one were to consider the film back when it was first released in 2004, it would be innovative and fresh.
Coming out of an era of Stephen King’s monsters in the 1980s to the serial killers in the 1990s, Asian horror paved the way for a new wave of horror in the early 2000s. Derived from the folklore of the “white lady”, a ghost of a woman dressed in white, often bloody, and has long, disheveled hair, the ghost Natre, along with other white ladies, provided a new way to haunt horror fans. What makes Shutter stand out is that it was cathartic to watch this revenge story unfold. Despite Natre being a horrifying ghost, viewers were secretly rooting for her (after getting hit, raped, and dumped, who would blame her?) This classic portrait of the white lady appealed to horror fans, even until now with the recent reboot of The Grudge.
The acting in the film was stellar. It was just enough drama for an Asian film which helped the viewers empathize with most of the characters. The effects, however, were sub-par, but it’s unfair to expect coming from a 2004 film. They were effective for the most part, like the reveal of the reason why Tun felt back pains throughout the story and its clever use of film photography, but underwhelming for some, such as when he was being chased by Natre’s ghost in the fire exit. One thing’s for sure, this original Thai movie beats all its remakes.
Perhaps the winning element of Shutter is its ending. It was clever in a way that Tun was literally carrying weight on his shoulders. It was poetic and even hilarious. It was also haunting and powerful. On the surface, Shutter is a disturbing film with a ghost in white haunting people through cameras. If you go deeper, it’s a powerful story of a woman never letting her abuser live his life without forgetting how he ruined hers.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Shutter (2004) three graves out of five graves.
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You may also like our review of the 2018 film, Extremity.
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