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Film / Shutter

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Shutter is a 2004 Thai horror film by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom. It focuses a on young couple, Tun and Jane, who, after being involved in a hit-and-run accident, find themselves menaced by the ghost of a young woman named Natre, most prominently in mysterious and ghostly images seen in photographer Tun's developed pictures. As Tun's circle of friends start to kill themselves one by one, it soon becomes clear that there is a lot more to these images and hauntings than meets the eye - and Tun himself is hiding many dark secrets...

The film was remade in 2007 as a Tamil film called Sivi, and as a 2008 American film, also titled Shutter.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Ben in the 2008 remake is this to Tun as he manages to be even worse, having planned everything that happened, even being the one to drug his girlfriend and was present from beginning to end when his friends assaulted her, trying to justify it by saying it was the only thing he could to drive her away when she wouldn't listen to him trying to dump her. As such, his fate feels much more karmic, even compared to Tun, who also deserved it.
  • Anti-Villain: Natre definitely qualifies as this, as she only goes after the people who were involved in her rape. She never harms Jane or goes after her, and it's eventually revealed that Natre has been trying to warn her of Tun's true nature.
  • Asshole Victim: All of Tun's friends, especially Tonn.
  • Big Bad: As it turns out, Tun allowed his friends to rape Natre, gave them photos they could use to blackmail her, and spurned her into suicide. Natre's ghost is in the film to punish him and reveal the truth to Jane.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Jane in one of Tun's nightmares. Complete with teeth.
  • Broken Pedestal: Tun ends up being one for Jane near the end, who breaks up with him in disgust on how his deplorable past actions led to them being currently haunted.
  • Camera Fiend: Tun, obviously.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Polaroid camera.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: Tun visits one, although it's considerably less disgusting than most examples.
  • Downer Ending: Tun is left in a catatonic state with heavily implied brain damage after being badly injured, with Natre still sitting on his shoulders. Giving his role in what happened to Natre, however, one could say it counts as karma as it was with the deaths of Tun's friends. The one upside is that Jane is alive and free of the hauntings, albeit emotionally and mentally scarred from the ordeal.
  • Driven to Suicide: Natre. Also, Tun's friends all throw themselves off of buildings, although it is strongly implied that they are being influenced by Natre at the time. Tun later throws himself out of his apartment window (he survives, but with severe injuries), although whether this is accidental or a deliberate suicide attempt is up for debate.
  • Eye Scream: How Megumi's ghost kills Adam in the American film.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: In a nightmare of Tun's, he is walking towards who he believes to be Jane. Suddenly, she starts coughing up blood, and then she turns around to reveal that she is Jane, who then starts spitting out her own teeth as well.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: The ending, for Tun, although he deserves it.
  • Foreign Remake: The Tamil and US remakes.
  • Foreshadowing: The white wisps that appear in Tun's photos from the college graduation turn out to be highlighting the room in which Natre was raped. Also, Tun's unexplained neck soreness and increased weight gain turn out to be the result of Natre sitting on his shoulders the whole time. The conversation about how sometimes spirits long to be with their loved ones also ends up foreshadowing the latter.
    • Tun refusing to let Jane out of the car and demanding they drive away after they seemingly run over a woman is the first sign as to what kind of person he really is.
  • Four Is Death: There is a scene in which Tun is running down several flights of stairs to escape Natre. However, no matter which floor he stops at, it is always "Level 4".
  • Ghostly Goals: Natre is a blend of both types. She longs to both exact revenge on Tun (as well as his friends) and to be with him forever, but also provides Jane with clues as to what happened to her.
  • Jump Scare: Many and varied.
  • Karmic Death: All of Tun's friends suffer this.
  • Matchlight Danger Revelation: The scene in the pitch-black room with the flashing camera.
  • Mirror Scare
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Natre's mother still keeps her daughter's decomposing corpse in her (Natre's) bed. She is eventually cremated, with everyone hoping that this act will put her spirit at peace. It doesn't.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Australian actress Rachael Taylor, who plays Jane in the American remake, loses her American accent in a couple of scenes, including the one where she dumps Ben after finding out what really drove Megumi to kill herself.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: It's pretty easy to see coming, but it still manages to be extremely jarring.
  • Pet the Dog: For some strange reason, Natre doesn't go after Jane, who by the end, realizes Natre has been trying to warn her about Tun. This is all most likely out of the fact Jane is innocent and was unaware of Tun's betrayal towards his former lover.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Tun's friends are revealed to have sexually assaulted Natre, and their deaths are karmic.
  • The Reveal: This film contains several, all centering around Natre. As it turns out, Natre was not killed in the hit-and-run accident - she had been dead a long time prior to that. She had, in fact, committed suicide. So, why is she seeking revenge, if she wasn't killed in a hit-and-run? Well, it turns out that Tun went to college with her, and started dating her. Natre fell deeply in love with him, but Tun kept their relationship a secret, even from his closest friends, due to everyone else finding the quiet, unassuming Natre to be "weird". He didn't love her, although he did care about her a lot. However, Natre fell into a deep depression and became suicidal, and shortly after that, Tun dumped her. Then, towards the end of the film, the entire truth is revealed: Natre became depressed and eventually killed herself because of Tun's friends holding her down and raping her one night. To add insult to injury, when Tun walked in on them, instead of helping her, chose to protect his friends instead by providing photos of Natre to his friends so that they could use them against her. Then, near the very end of the film, the reasons for Tun's neck ache and increased weight are revealed: Natre's spirit has been sitting on his shoulders the whole time, something which is only revealed when he takes a picture of himself.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: What Natre is doing to Tun and his friends.
  • Room Full of Crazy: In the American version. When it's revealed that Ritsuo's been publishing fake Spooky Photographs, he shows Jane a room full of real ones.
  • Rule of Symbolism: That's quite a weight you're carrying there, Tun. And she will never ever leave you.
    • The nature show featuring praying mantises in the act of mating and sexual cannibalism acts as this, especially when one factors in the ending.
  • Self-Harm: Natre cuts her wrists in Tun's darkroom prior to taking an overdose of pills and throwing herself off a roof.
  • Shrinking Violet: Natre, in life.
  • Spooky Photographs: The first type, all the way.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Natre.
  • Toilet Humor: The scene where Tun accidentally walks in on someone in a public toilet stall.
  • Twist Ending: Just when it seems like she and Tun are free from the hauntings, Jane discovers that Tun had helped his friends cover up their rape of Natre, realizing she had been targeting Tun for revenge.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Tun in his earlier flashbacks.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jane does this to Tun towards the end, when she discovers just what happened to make Natre so deeply vengeful.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Tun and Jane think that giving Natre a proper funeral would end the ordeal once and for all, and it seems that way at first. However, this all leads to another haunting that injures Tun and ultimately sets up the big reveal of the photos Tun took of his friends raping Natre.
    • Turned up a notch in the U.S. remake, where nothing happens on the night after Megumi's funeral and Ben and Jane return to New York thinking it's all over.