Has anyone kept track of all the remakes of Asian horror films? It fairly numbs the mind to even begin counting, as soulless and derivative as they are. I know I've had to slog out to the Cineplex many an opening Friday to catch the latest one that was withheld from press screenings. Even the originals begin to blur together, following the same formula of a wronged spirit -- usually a ghostly girl with stringy black hair and hollow eyes -- entering into the lives of unsuspecting people, often through technology. Usually the heroes think they've solved the riddle at some point, but there's always one more overlooked step at the climax. Very often in the middle the heroes find themselves someplace like a library or an office building that's supposed to be brightly lit, but instead is illuminated only by a few buzzing gray lights. The original Shutter (2004) is different only because it originated in Thailand -- and is set in Bangkok -- rather than Japan. The new American remake squashes even that one unique factor by turning right around and setting the story among Americans in Tokyo.
Ben Shaw (Joshua Jackson) is a professional photographer newly married to blonde hottie Jane (Rachael Taylor), who apparently works as a 6th grade teacher and not a photographer's model. (Um... yeah. How did they meet again?) Just after their honeymoon, they land in Tokyo so that Ben can start his amazing new job, shooting colorful layouts of geisha girls. On the road, their car strikes a girl, though no evidence of her body is ever found. More strange things begin happening. White streaks appear in Ben's photos and Jane begins seeing the girl all over the place. With a little detective work, Jane discovers that Ben actually knew her. She was Megumi Tanaka (Megumi Okina), a shy, uncertain translator. Ben may have been her first love, but he didn't love her quite the same and things ended badly. So why, then, are Ben's buddies Bruno (David Denman) and Adam (John Hensley) suddenly dying?