Sunday, May 8, 2011

Shutter: Thailand vs. America

Shutter was another victim of being remade in America. The American version was produced by the same people who did The Grudge and The Ring. If I knew that ahead of time of watching, I would've been unsure on how this would've turned out.

The basic storyline of both movies are pretty much the same, but the start of this crazy roller coaster ride is a little different. Tun and Ben are both photographers and they both have a girlfriend named Jane. In the Thai version, Tun and Jane are coming back from dinner with Tun's friends. When heading back home, they hit a woman in the road and crash into a billboard post. Jane panics and wants to get out and check on the woman, but Tun tells her to just keep driving. In the American version, the couple arrive in Japan, after getting married, and travel down a dark road as well. They hit a woman in the street and crash off road. Once they regain consciousness, Jane wants to check on the woman and they both get out the car to find no trace of a blood or body. The following day or so, both Jane characters are still worried about the woman they hit and both Tun and Ben assure their significant others to forget it and focus on their photography.

Now I must warn you, I'm going to be revealing some spoilers to this movie. Of course, I will refrain from exposing the end, so you can still watch the movie without knowing what's going to happen from reading this post. So, if you don't want to know most of the details that a similar between both movies beforehand, stop here and come back when you're done with the movie.

As we move a little further into the movie, we notice something unusual when our main male characters of photographing something important. Tun is taking pictures at a graduation at his former college and notices a faint figure in the shots, while Ben sees something odd during a professional photoshoot with a few models in Japan at a company building he used to work for. Of course, they don't delve into what it may be, but Jane does. In the remake, Ben's assistant comments by saying that they're spirit photos and suggests that Jane meet her ex-boyfriend who works at a spirit magazine company. In the original, I think a specialist points out it to Jane and she proceeds to a spirit magazine as well. They both witness fake ghost photos being made during their visit and are suggested to use a Polaroid camera for authenticity.

The movie progresses on and Tun and Ben are both experiencing some neck problems. It is pointed out more in the remake than the original. Eventually, the Jane characters persuade her partners to join in this investigation as a few more strange events occur. Of course, Jane goes a little further into the situation than her male counterpart. They both check out the scene of the first spirit photo, the college building and the company building. There is an eerie vibe in this scene and both Jane characters freak out when they realize something unknown is present in the room with them by using the Polaroid camera. They both find out there's a connection between the ghost and their partner when a picture falls off the wall.

The story gets more and more interesting when both Jane characters question their other half about the woman. They both tell a similar story about their past with the woman, but the Thai version is more graphic in the reenactment and the remake seems a little more cruel in some ways. With this revealed, we find out that Tun and Ben's friends are part of the ghost's agenda of revenge. We are better introduced to Ben's set of friends, at least two of them, but we were already introduced to Tun's in the beginning of the movie. We don't get to see the death of any of Tun's friends, except one, but we witness a ghost attack to one of Ben's friends as he does a sleazy photoshoot with a woman and loses an eye. Tun and Ben take the situation a little more seriously as they are being approached and warned by their closest friends Tonn and Bruno. Unfortunately, both of them commit suicide by jumping off the balcony of their home.

Still in disbelief, Tun and Ben finally meet their attacker in the middle of the night which leads to a chase. The remake adds creepiness in the interaction between Ben and the ghost with a disgusting kiss, before he runs away. In the original, the never ending Level 4 in the stairway and paranoia are simply enough. Things continue to fall apart until the end of the movie. Both Jane characters are disgusted with their mates and part ways while still holding onto that feeling of worry. As for our leading male characters, they both handle their situation in the same insane manner, but a different method.

I will admit that the American version was pretty decent and had its moments of eeriness, but the Thai version truly creeped me out and kept me on edge even though I knew what was going to happen. For once, I watched the remake before the original as I always caught the original at a bad time on TV. Both Tun and Ben were douches, but Ben seemed a bit more cold and it probably had to deal with Joshua Jackson's lack of facial expressions and a bit of a wall he had up toward the viewers. In the end, the original is still (so far) better, but the remake is worth giving a glance or two.

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