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This flashy shocker--"inspired" or uninspired, as the case may be (and is)--by a Thai thiller some years back is arguably the most unimaginative genre film of the year. At least so far.


Ben (Joshua Jackson) and Jane (Rachael Taylor) are young and attractive newlyweds who live in Japan. Ben's a photographer, and Jane's, well, Jane's got an awful lot of time on her hands to ascertain what Ben's been up to before they got hitched. Thanks to a series of strange photographs that have a spectral image in them, Jane begins to wonder just exactly what little tidbits from his past Ben's been hiding. As Jane probes into the mystery surrounding the fate of a young girl (Megumi Okina) with ties to Ben's past, it puts what might euphemistically be called "a strain" on their marriage--but that strain is nothing compared to the strain on the viewer's patience. Scary? Please.


The proceedings are so uninspired that the entire cast simply appears to be going through the motions. That's because they are, and it almost appears to be in slow motion. There's no chemistry between Jackson and Taylor when they're playing cutesy, and there's no tension between them when marital mistrust sets in. The actors work with what they have, which isn't much. This is a film entirely dependent on, and centered around, its gimmick, and since the gimmick is half-baked, the film follows suit--right down the tubes.


Having struck international success with Infection, Masayuki Ochiai sells out-- and strikes out. Shutter may earn some opening-weekend coin on the basis of it, being a horror film and all, but a few more efforts as lame as this, and the genre might not be as hot as it once was. Shutter is such a lazy, contemptible film that it's an insult, not only to horror fans, but to the horror genre itself. It commits arguably the worst sin a horror film can commit; it's boring. Shiver.

Bottom Line rated this film 1/2 star.