The Counterfeiters

Starring Joshua Jackson, Rachel Jackson and Megumi Okina. Directed by Masayuki Ochiai
Running Time: 85 mins
Rated: Rated MA 15+ (strong suicide scene, horror violence)

Immediately after Ben (Jackson) and Jane (Taylor) are married in NYC, he is reassigned to his old stomping ground of Tokyo, for a lucrative fashion photo shoot. It is meant to be a working honeymoon.

As the happy couple make their way on a mountain road leading to Mt. Fuji, their new life together comes to, literally, a crashing halt. Their car smashes into a woman standing in the middle of the road, who has materialized out of nowhere. Upon regaining consciousness after the accident, Ben and Jane cannot find any trace of the girl.

Shaken by the accident and by the girl's disappearance, Ben and Jane arrive in Tokyo, where Ben begins his work. As from nowhere, mysterious white blurs start to appear in every one of his photographs, ruinuing his work. Jane starts to see images in the blurs and realises it is the face of the dead girl from the road. She is stalking them. But Jane realises that she is trying to deliver a message, but what is it, or better still who is it for?

Based on a 2004 Thai film of the same name, Shutter is an American/Japanese production. If you can take the shocks and violence of this genre, this film is worth the admission price for the cinematography alone. Every setup, angle and edit has been expertly created by Japanese horror master-craftsman, Masayuki Ochiai.

Some viewers who have a propensity for the seizures from strobe lighting need to be warned about a similar effect in one of the best sequences in this film.

The story here is also very good for a horror flick. The idea that the spirits of the unhappy-dead hang around is not new, but Christianity holds rather than having any new form, the experiences that the living may have of the dead are more a projection of their grief or ill at ease conscience. We may be haunted by our powerful and vivid memories than by any disembodied spirit.

Even at a brisk 85 minutes Shutter tends to lag in the second act. The ghost was hanging around a little too much so I was praying for an exorcism, but the last act and its tragic finale is a genuine surprise.

For fans of thriller-horror films Shutter is well above average and for those who may dislike the content of these films its style might have its own allure.

20th Century Fox Opens May 15

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the director of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcastin

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