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MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for terror, disturbing images, sexual content and language

Reviewed by: Steve Warburton

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Remake
1 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 21, 2008 (wide—2,700 theaters)
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

Ghosts in the Bible

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

What is the Occult? Answer

Featuring: Joshua Jackson
Rachael Taylor
Transformers,” “Man-Thing,” “See No Evil”

Megumi Okina, John Hensley, Maya Hazen, David Denman, Adrienne Pickering, James Kyson Lee, Albert Smith, Daisy Betts, Natalie N. Okamoto
Director: Masayuki Ochiai
Producer: Doug Davison, Takashige Ichise, Roy Lee, Sonny Mallhi
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

“The most terrifying images are the ones that are real.”

Some time ago, I read a review from Christian discernment expert, Berit Kjos, on the movie, “Casper” (also known as Casper the Friendly Ghost).

Despite its general audience rating, Ms. Kjos said it was a dangerous movie, because it would invite children to take the spirit world lightly. If you're a Christian, you've got to agree with her. The Bible says that the living do not communicate with the dead. Case closed, right?

So here we have SHUTTER, yet another Japan inspired horror movie where the dead communicate with the living. As in “The Ring” and “The Grudge,” the ghost is of a woman with long black hair. At first, the ghost just shows up in photographs, but then it starts showing up in real life. What does it do? Well, it stares at people. It throws people at windows. It gets hit by a car. The only thing it doesn't do is talk. Why won't it talk? Because the movie is all about figuring out what the ghost wants. If the screenplay allowed the ghost to talk, it wouldn't be much of a movie.

Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself. The plot: Jane and Ben are recent newlyweds. Soon after the wedding, they are whisked away to Japan, where Ben is doing a photo shoot. Soon, this spirit girl starts harassing them. Why? Well, I better not tell you. That would ruin the surprise.

Truth be told, there's a pretty cool twist ending that took me by surprise.

What's objectionable? I believe Christ's name is taken in vain twice. There's a brief prelude-to-sex scene between this married couple, but not nudity is involved. The violence is moderate.

Probably what will offend Christians the most is the Occultic theme, i.e., the dead communicating with the living. I doubt that the filmmakers were trying to preach this as a message. No, they were probably just trying to make yet another freaky thriller. Still, if the Occult has any allure for you, this is a film to avoid.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—A terrifying experience so visceral it has to be witnessed on the big screen. Similar in tone to the american remake of “Ju-On: The Grudge.” If Grudge didn't scare ya, Shutter likely won't. “Shutter” is smarter than Grudge and is certainly more modest about dishing out jump scares. The ending is solid and provides closure. Very effective overall; I thought about walking out just so the nightmare could be over sooner.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jacob Keenum, age 21
Negative—I read the reviews before I watched this movie with my boyfriend, thinking it would be “ok” and mostly had its PG-13 rating because it was scary, but it was not a good enough movie. There was a lot of swearing, Christ's name taken in vain and the f-word, but the sexual scenes were not as mild as the reviews made me think. When the couple first arrived in Japan the wife gets the husband on the bed and and the camera focus on her legs spreading apart to get on the bed with him, you see her taking her dress off from the front with her underwear in full sight. The camera changes to a back view when she gets passed her stomach, and then her whole back is exposed, and she is in her panties with no bra, they are passionately kissing, and it is obvious that they start having sex. The windows of their apartment are all open.

Later you see the husband in a bed with a woman from his past and they are both supposed to be naked. The woman he works with in his studio and is in close contact with wears very short skirts and the cameras focus on her legs which are spread apart, it seemed like it was supposed to bother the wife. Later, this same woman is with one of his friends for a photo shoot, she strips down (on camera) to her bra and panties for the man to take pictures of her, it wasn't brief, they do this for awhile while she gets in different poses. Last the “ghost” comes to the man at night and gets on the bed in the same way it watched his wife do, taking of her dress, exposing her back which is “rotting away.” The actors did a very good job, but overall this movie was not worth seeing, it was sad and very ungodly.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½

Justine, age 21


Comments from young people
Neutral—I went to this movie with my best friend Isabella. To be honest, I wasn't expecting anything great. We pretty much just went there 'cause we were bored. I loved the movie and was highly mistaken. I thought that the actors did an amazing job. However, even though it was a greatly entertaining movie, I do have to base my comments on Christian standpoint. There was about as much language as average PG-13 movies have. And there was a mild scene that leads on to believe that the man and woman were going to have sex. However, they thankfully didn't show anything. There were also some pretty satanic parts in relation to the ghost and supernatural happenings. But if you can get past all of that, it's an amazing movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Aly, age 13
Movie Critics
…Very strong occult, spiritualist worldview… with strong feminist elements and anti-American content where the three American men in the story turn out to be really bad and deceitful people, plus some pagan superstition about spirits…
…it's not as interesting as you might imagine. After you see the first snapshot with its wisp of whitish smoke that could be a face, the intrigue fades quickly. …
Bob Hoose, Plugged In
…‘Shutter’ another boring ‘J-horror’ film… ‘Shutter’ is seriously short on shudders.
Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
…Despite just enough promise to make it passable, actual frights are slight, the plot is random and ‘Shutter’ would best remain closed.
Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I have the original Thai version on DVD. I have followed the original Thai (NOT JAPANESE) version from the beginning 4 years ago and was delighted to get a copy on DVD from BESTBUY. Majority of the photos used in that film were authentic pictures of ghostly phenomenon used to enhance the plot of the story. The real photos added that dimension of eeriness and fright while we enjoy an original story of sin, guilt, and revenge. The U.S. version started off with the newly wed and off they go to Japan because the husband is on a photo assignment there. Before long, on a drive somewhere in the middle of nowhere at night, they ran over something or someone but the body was gone from the scene when the paramedics arrived. The dialogues were horrendous and the acting were subpar, I couldn't take it anymore. I wish they would have released the original Thai in theater instead. From a Christian perspective, the film deals with a vengeful ghost. This ghost truly have an unfinished business and it wants it finished, and it will finish it. As being an Asian from shaman and Buddhism past, the original Thai deals with that culture of beliefs and it served its purpose. It is a self contained story where the protagonist is not necessary the hero, he is the cause of the vengeful ghost's wrath. The story is about the ghost, not the living. Skip the Hollywood remake, and enjoy some subtitles, it's actually better than you may think. You may start looking for anomaly in your photos. Just a word of caution: be prepared to be scared by real ghost photos, ghost chase, and ghostly gore.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1½
Mang Yang, age 35