The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Feature running time: 89 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio Lossless, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean
Starring: Joshua Jackson, Rachel Taylor, David Denman, John Hemsley, Megumi Okina, Maya Hazen
Directed by:Masayuki Ochiai
Music by: Nathan Barr
Written by: Luke Dawson
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 15, 2008
"A picture is worth a thousand scares"
A picture-perfect honeymoon develops into a snapshot of terror in this bone-chilling shocker from executive producers of The Grudge and The Ring! Soon after New York newlyweds Ben (Joshua Jackson) and Jane (Rachael Taylor) arrive in Japan for Ben’s latest photography assignment, they discover disturbing, ghostly reflections of a young woman in their own photos. This inexplicable “spirit image” may be connected to Ben’s past, but she’s determined to provide the couple with a horrifying future of relentless vengeance from which there is no escape!
Shutter is a remake of the Thai film of the same name and represents another addition to the Japanese Horror genre which has become popular in the U.S over the last 10 years or so. I find the visions of Yurei Ghosts (The Dead) that inhabit most of these films to be quite creepy. I found it less so in this film but creepy none the less. The story line here is on the weak side and attempts to keep you wondering what the real deal is until it is revealed late in the last act. I pretty much had things figured out early on although the fine details were still unclear until later. I thought that the director did a good job in the building of suspense which ultimately lead to several decent jump scares. This was less of scary horror movie because it didn’t provide enough development of the background which would lead us as viewers to be frightened of what was to come. By the time things began to unfold I kind of knew what was happening and why so it had less impact. I will say that it did succeed on a couple of occasions to deliver a few tense and jumpy sequences thanks to the film’s great sights and sounds. This is certainly a good popcorn flick to watch with your significant other on a rainy night.
Parental Guide:This unrated version features sexual content, frightening images, language and violence. Parents, this is not one for younger viewers.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Shutter comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video with an average bitrate of 33 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 channel Master Audio surround sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 mbps.
The video presentation was near reference in quality and offered rich detail which was impeccable from almost every perspective. There were several long distant shots of the Japanese City (Toyko?) that looked stunning as they represented clearly defined visual acuity that reached as far as the camera allowed. The color palette was extensive and rendered colors that were vibrant and deeply saturated with no signs of smearing or blooming hues. Skin tones were naturally complex while appearing slightly whitish in tone. Detail in dark areas and shadows exhibited plenty of variation and depth. Blacks looked solid with good dynamic range and visible gradation. Contrast and brightness were well balanced which gave light filled shots plenty of punch while maintaining visible highlights in whites and grays. It looked great overall.
The DTS-HD Master Audio surround sounded excellent. This is an aurally stimulating mix that uses the audio to effectively build suspense/tension that elicits moments of peril and fear. Dialogue is well articulated and clearly resolves the differing tonal aspects of the voices among the cast members. Surround use was frequent and deliberate as sounds could be heard emanating from various locations within the rear sound field. This played perfectly to the film’s frightening intent as both subtle and startling creaks/bangs orbited the listening position. Low frequency detail had definitive presence as it augmented the contemplative nature of the soundtrack. A great example of this came during a scene where the lights go out and the entire sequence is seen through flashes of light that come from a large electronic photography flash device. As the brief flashes illuminate the room the sound effects along with the music fill the room with pulsating sound that is both visually and aurally engaging. I enjoyed the sometimes quiet yet intricate nature of the audio as well as how it could come to life and suck you into each jump scare with visceral impact.
Fox has included the bonus content from the Unrated DVD version of Shutter which provides a nice complement of extras. Total is around 40 minutes worth which includes some interesting pieces on Spirit Photography as well as how it was used in the film. There is background on the script from screenwriter Luke Dawson, a Q&A from Director Masayuki Ochiai, Actor/Screenwriter commentary, deleted scenes an alternate ending and more. All are offered in standard definition which was a little disappointing. All in all these were pretty entertaining and certainly interesting for those who might be curious about Spirit Photography and visions.
- Audio Commentary with Production Executive Alex Sundell and Screenwriter Luke Dawson
- A Ghost in the lens: Featurette
- The Director: Masayuki Ochiai
- A conversation with screenwriter Luke Dawson
- A history of spirit photography
- Create your own phantom photo
- The hunt for the haunt: Featurette
- Fox Movie Channel presents: In character with Joshua Jackson
- Alternate ending
- Deleted scenes
Shutter didn’t offer anything original to the genre from a conceptual standpoint. I think that more background on the potential of the impending entity would have lead to an enhanced sense of fear for viewers which might have helped make the film a bit scarier. It had its moments though and delivered a few chills in the process. Fox has released it on Blu-ray Disc with near reference video and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound that is sure to stimulate your senses!
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