Shutter (2 stars)

(15) 96min

In lieu of a forthcoming US remake, this half arsed 2004 Thai ghost story is getting an overdue and limited release.

Driving home after getting drunk with a few of his old friends, photographer Tun (Ananda Everingham) and his girlfriend Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee) accidentally knock down a teenage girl. Rather than going to the victim’s aid, Tun convinces Jane to leave the scene of the accident. In the days following the incident, bizarre ghostly images begin to appear on photographs taken by Tun. Investigations lead the couple to a disturbing secret.

Invoking increasingly jaded memories of J Horror template setters Ringu and Ju On: The Grudge, this badly acted, manipulatively paced, jumpy shocker is nothing if not familiar. Joint directors Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom seem to understand (as many South Korean filmmakers before them have) that one way to kick start a shuddering film industry is to emulate what has already been internationally viable in the countries of your neighbours. And although the clicky crawl of the now stock black haired white faced female über demon is kept to a minimum (hell if you half close your eyes and take a load of drugs this could almost be an avant garde reinterpretation of Antonioni’s Blow Up) there is nothing of unique stylistic or thematic interest going on here. If you do go and see this film, however, it is worth waiting until the end, for when it comes it’s a killer.

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