a critiQal film review Shutter (2008)

Plot: While on their honeymoon in Tokyo, a young photographer (Jackson) and his wife (Taylor) begin seeing ghostly images in his photographs that may be tied to their involvement in a hit-and-run accident.

440 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 12s)

Apparently, it’s the “in” thing these days for ex-TV stars to show up for starring roles in horror movies. Ex-“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” cast members Sarah Michelle Gellar () and Emma Caulfield () have done it, “7th Heaven”‘s Barry Watson () has done it – and now Joshua Jackson takes his turn with Shutter.

But will Joshua be able to make the leap from his “Dawson’s Creek” persona to a frightened photographer? Let’s just say it’s lucky co-star Rachael Taylor is here to help him out.

Joshua Jackson tries to get his movie career back in motion with Shutter, the latest horror movie remake. After his success with horror/thrillers like The Skulls, it woulod seem he’s a perfect fit for the genre.

Apparently, the filmmakers don’t think so – instead they seem to think his time away from films has diminsihed his acting skills (or realized it didn’t take a lot of “skills” for his role in The Skulls) and have decided to center the story around Rachael Taylor instead. While Jackson is a main character, he usually seems to be backing Rachael up rather than taking the lead in scenes, and the movie is probably better off because of it.

Fresh-faced Rachael Taylor, thrust into the spotlight in Shutter, performs admirably. Taking the lead completely away from Jackson, and letting him follow her around like a puppy dog, Rachael Taylor really takes the reins and runs with them in Shutter. She’s a real highlight of the film, and is able to convey a convincing mixture of innocence and verve that her character needs.

As with any horror film, the main characters have to be somewhat innocent, so that the corruption of the evil they face can be shown in stark contrast. They also need to have a bit of a backbone, since rather than just whimpering when faced with awful circumstances, most end up fighting back. Rachael displays both of these qualities wonderfully, and really makes Shutter worth a look.

Spirit Photography is an interesting subject to base a horror film on, and Shutter takes the idea and runs with it. As a malignant poltergeist tracking this newlywed couple – a spirit first seen in photographs – the chills and thrills are abundant and worthwhile. Sure, it gets old after a little bit, but Rachael Taylor’s performance and a creepy twist ending help leave the viewer with a favorable impression overall.

Not quite up there with the best of the horror films, Shutter still has enough going for it to make it one of the better foreign horror remakes in quite a while, and is definitely worth a rental.

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