The Horror Movie Work Week Bonus: International Film #2 : Shutter 2004 (Thai)

Official Movie Image of Shutter

So I couldn’t let Bakes have all the movie going fun. This month provided his wealth of knowledge into the horror film realm with four installments of his “Horror Movie Work Week.” Find them here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Halloween Night Addition #4. Bakes, you covered a lot of film…A LOT. So I’ll just dabble in your area of expertise (as I often like to do in other topics as well) and put a spin on it in our first crossover column. So my pick for the month (well it’s November 1st so celebrate The Day of the Dead) is the Thai film Shutter directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom. When in Thailand…get spooked by the Thai.

The Thai version of Shutter should NOT be confused with the American version directed by Masayuki Ochiai and starring Rachael Taylor released in 2008. I’ve not seen the film and after viewing the original, watching the trailers for the remake and reading feedback of the said remake I really have no desire. Forgive me my State side audience but I’m certain it will not compare. And if you have and not seen the original well…

Shutter opens with four friends (college friends some years after) drinking at the conclusion of one of their wedding receptions. A wily group they were reliving some old times. Upon driving home at night the photographer of the group, Tun (Ananda Everingham) and his girlfriend Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee), whom was behind the wheel, accidentally hit a women walking in the road. They veer off the road with Tun banging his head on a window and come to a screeching halt. Dazed and coming to they realize what has happen when they see the woman lying in the road. As another car approaches Tun directs Jane to drive off quickly leaving the site of the incident.

Shortly thereafter Tun covers a universities’ graduation taking pictures of alumni and their families. His friend asks where June is but Tun covers (knowing she is still clearly disturbed) by saying she is out taking photos with her friends. After developing the shots (this movie is set before the DSLR revolution) Tun realize that there is something wrong with the pictures. He asks his developer who explains, “You can’t blame me for your bad pictures!” They both look at the negatives and they too reveal some fuzzy, ghostly elements. The developer further explains believing Tun took some double exposed shots.

Tun is not sold on that and neither is June upon seeing the photos. They are both bothered by the incident but June clearly more then Tun…until other images start popping up within images. He sees ghostly imagines of what is found to be Tun’s past girlfriend Natre (Achita Sikamana). And then the dreams…and the delusions. June does some investigating of her own and believes the woman they hit to be Natre. However the story between Tun and Natre goes much deeper griping not only them but his three college friends as well.

Pisanthanakun and Wongpoom weave a dark tale of imagery through imagery. The use of light room sets and photography studios accentuate the visual aspect behind the realm of photography we often forget only eight years after the movie’s release. They keep with Buddhist traditions through the film as seen through a “wake” and cremation and their usage of darkness really set the tone beyond Shutter’s daytime scenes.

Both Everingham and Thongmee portray a couple whose traumatic experience has bothered, hell scarred them and wonder if there is an end in sight. Sikamana as Natre chills the spine…check that freezes it. And Pisanthanakun’s and Wongpoom’s visuals capture the underlying longing of Natre.

I believe Shutter (2004) is available on Netflix but you’ll have to check that. Perhaps there are other means of procuring the film. If so, you can do yourself with some authentic modern Thai haunting.

I cannot say that I am either a film buff nor a critic, but I can counter by saying that I have viewed hundreds of films from various eras and countries and know what I like and not so much. Thus my reviews may be a bit biased, but a critique should be subjective, no?

Joe Grez

Joe Grez

Joe Grzesik (JGrez) is still an artist developer trying to keep up with new technologies. Photography still has been one of his strongest passions. However, now his main focus has led him back to music where he teaches guitar, piano, saxophone and percussion privately. Music education can never be short changed.

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