In this effective, though not terribly elegant ghost story, a Bangkok photographer, Tun (Ananda Everingham), begins seeing ghostly images in nearly all of his photographs after he and his girlfriend (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee) accidentally plowed down a mystery girl in a traumatizing hit and run accident. What starts as smears of light in the background begins forming into a faces—then those faces turn towards the camera—then, holy shit she’s right behind you!
Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, Shutter has some inspired moments, but, as a horror movie, it gets bogged down with cheap scares. Nearly every quiet scene in the movie gets punctuated with some sort of jump scare. A character turns around, SCARE CHORD-GHOST; a character checks a rear-view mirror, SCARE CHORD-GHOST; someone develops a picture, SCARE CHORD-HOLY SHIT, GHOST.
Jump scares used a few times here or there for seasoning is to be expected in almost any horror film, but a movie that hinges entirely on startling you out of your skin isn’t exactly paying its dues. When that’s all that’s offered, the only tension being built is the suspense that that something will eventually jump out towards the camera, making you yelp like a fool. At that point, it’s not a horror movie; it’s a jack in the box.
Despite Pisanthanakun and Wongpoom’s affinity towards the ooga-boogas, Shutter does have some chillymoments. When Tun’s girlfriend begins aiding him in his investigation, she takes a Polaroid camera to an apparent paranormal hotspot, developing pictures on the spot to see what’s really there. After snapping a couple of photos of the empty room, one of them shows a specter standing just a few feet in front of her.
Suddenly, what was an empty laboratory becomes flooded with possibilities. A scene like that develops a paranoia and fear of anything and everything. The ghost could be anywhere, it could be sitting right on your shoulders and you wouldn’t know it until it’s too late.
The problem with Shutter, though, is that there’s always a ghost hiding around every corner, just waiting for you to turn around and…