Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

A photographer, Tun and his girlfriend Jane are driving home from a party when a girl steps out in front of them. Instead of checking on the girl, Tun persuades Jane to just drive on. Wracked with guilt they try to find out if she survived, but there’s no trace. But Tun has started to see apparitions in his photographs and as something from his past continues to haunt him, his closest friends are dying.

Shutter is an effective J-horror, although strictly speaking, it’s Thai, but it has all the usual ingredients that fans of Ringu and Ju-On will recognise. In fact, apart from some odd pacing in the middle, the only problem with Shutter is familiarity. It follows a similar pattern to the others and as usual it’s a very emotional story; the spirit is restless because of Tun’s guilt.

It has a very laidback, almost dreamlike quality, perhaps a bit too enigmatic at times, but there are a handful of solid scares. Much of it is predictable though, both in plot and in where the next jump is coming from, but all credit to the film that those moments still work. A sequence with a polaroid camera very creepy because it’s an instant picture and what Jane sees in the picture, must be in the room right now! Honourable mention for the flash sequence and darkroom.

The film loses momentum towards the end with a very odd, out of place scene in a roadside toilet. It picks up again for the last act where the truth of what happened is revealed. Jane gets a clue with a stack of photographs where the shadows form a flick book animation. The final moments are a bit silly, but look great and the very last shot is very memorable!

If you’ve never seen a J-horror, then I highly recommend this as it’s a perfect jumping on point to a worthy genre that might be starting to show its age. If you’re a veteran, it’s still worth seeing at least.

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