Monday, April 22, 2013

Shutter

I love horror movies, I always did. Most of them don't really scare me...at least until I discovered Asian horror. When I first saw Ring, I asked my roommate if I could sleep over at his room. We covered the TV with a blanket. Ju-On (and the US remake The Grudge) made away with the illusion that it's safe once you're under the blanket in your bed. I seriously thought about sleeping standing up that night.

Asian horror movies are, not my guilty pleasure, but a very irrational one. Since Mr Bookscorpion doesn't really like horror movies, I always end up watching them alone. In my dark flat. And I always remember too late that I have to leave the safety of my bed to feed my hamsters. I do an excellent impression of a spooked deer at those times. Another friend of mine has probably already gotten used to virtually holding my hand via Skype while I freak out.

So I really should have know better than to watch Shutter. It's a 2004 Thai movie about a photographer who is haunted by a ghost he first sees in his photos. If ghost photos creep you out, then this may not be a movie for you.
It has a few extremely effective shock effects, but it doesn't rely on them, always a good thing for a horror film. After a while, you start to scare yourself because you will be expecting something horrible to happen any second and it doesn't, not for quite a while.

One thing I absolutely love about Asian movie ghosts/demons: they just don't stop. When you have pissed them off, you are done, no way of making amends. Ring was a great example of that with its unstoppable curse. Shutter is another one, but the ghost here has very different reasons. And for all its creepiness, it's a sad story.

Speaking of heartbreaking horror movies, try Dark Water. A recently divorced woman moves into a new apartment with her daughter, stressed out by the divorce and the custody fight. Water stains appear on the ceiling, but she cannot get the manager to do anything about it. And slowly she realises that something is very wrong with the building.

Dark Water's ending made me cry. I certainly didn't expect that. And while the story takes some time to get going, once it does it's brilliant. Like Shutter, the movie relies on imagination to scare its audience. After a while, the sight of that damn Hello Kitty-style bag that keeps turning up was enough to make me want to kill it with fire. There are few things quite so creepy as that one thing you keep throwing out, only to have it reappear, especially if it's something as innocent as a child's bag with a cute bunny on it.

So, if you're looking for a horror movie that actually tells a good story, one that will stay in your mind after watching, then Shutter and Dark Water may be just the thing for you.

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