shutterby Alicia Glass, contributing writer

Have you ever had a secret, a deep and dark and terrible secret that you could tell no one, not even (and perhaps most especially) your significant other? This is the underlying premise for the first Days of Darkness film, Shutter.

Ben and Jane have recently both married and moved to Japan, so Ben can continue his burgeoning career as a professional photographer. Jane is attempting to adjust to life in a foreign country as best she can, but strange things keep happening to her. After experiencing what they thought was a terrible car accident, complete with a ghostly female victim whose body of course disappears when they go to help her, Ben and Jane do their best to shrug it off, but there is no ignoring the power of a pissed off Asian ghost. Spectral images begin literally haunting the photos Ben’s taking, and the odd happenings continue to terrorize poor Jane. Having already been on a successful photo jaunt to Japan before, Ben is at least semi-fluent in the language and gladly greets former colleagues and friends, slipping back to how he was before Jane all too easily. It all culminates down when Jane discovers the identity of Megumi, a former associate of Ben’s who died rather tragically, who, yes, had quite an unrequited thing for Ben and was shattered at being set aside. Or was she?

shutterrev1bThere are very few instances of a J-horror story being remade American-style that actually work. Personally, I think this is one of them that actually does work, and that is in no small part to the acting by Joshua Jackson as Ben. The film does actually delve a bit into Japanese spirit photography and the sheer terror of their ghost girls, even giving the vengeful specter a perfectly valid reason for literally haunting the life out of those who wronged her. The movie has plenty of jump scares, shadowy corner ghost camera tricks, boasting of course the Japanese ghost-girl Grudge makeup, but not so much blood. Some gore, much in the Japanese monster style instead of intestines-and-spleen gore. Rather, relying on mood setup and a great story to carry the film along, Shutter is a fine way to begin October, by reminding us to check the corners of our photos for that ghostly spirit that could be following!

Check back for more Days of Darkness articles, as Alicia Glass leads us through a scarrrrrry month of film and TV!