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By Steve Anderson | February 21, 2006

Mixing genres, including mixing titles within genres, is a lot like mixing drinks. You may well wind up with a wonderful little blend that you find tasty, but you could end up with a Harvey Collins Bloody Sunrise on the Beach.

“Shutter” is Scotch and asparagus.

So what we have here is two young co-eds going out into the woods with the help of an old friend to photograph an old building with a lot of history behind it. They end up at an abandoned quarantine house, and of course, in a place that was largely devoted to state-sanctioned murder (they sent influenza sufferers to said quarantine house, where they invariably died), there’s lots of history attached to it.

Meanwhile, our hot college babes are being stalked by a character who looks like he’d have been at home at the “Deliverance” version of “That ‘70s Show”, and naturally, he’s eyeing them with interest in much more than their F-Stops.

Which of course leads to stalking through the woods and attempted rapes and assorted murdering. Not surprising, huh?

See, it seems like Jeremy Benson was trying for something really interesting here. He was trying for a hybrid movie that closely resembled the menacing elements of, say, “Ju-On” with the sheer raw brutality of, oh, “Last House on the Left.”

Which of course reminds me of a line from the old “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” movie that sums it up perfectly. “Let’s escape under cover of noon in the biggest car in the county!”

Most reasonable people will tell you that trying to mix subtlety with intensity is like sending out a sniper laden with bottle rockets. Indeed, “Shutter” is trying to escape under cover of noon in the biggest car in the county. And the one just doesn’t work with the other. “Shutter” is proof positive of that.

What this strange moulange ends up being is a movie that starts slow—it takes a full thirty six minutes to even SEE the bad guy—and ends way too fast and with way too many jump cuts and disjointed images.

And frankly, I take issue with the commentary on the back of the box. This is NOT “one of the bloodiest death traps of all time”. You have a body count of less than FIVE, Jeremy. I’ve seen PG-13 movies with more corpses than THIS canard. You want a bloody death trap? Go rent “Suicide Club!” That’s got FIFTY schoolgirls simultaneously leaping in front of a subway car in the FIRST THREE MINUTES! Forget about playing in the same league, Jeremy, you are not playing the same SPORT! You have shown up to play Indoor Ricochet Death Frisbee armed with a checkerboard!

Do NOT bring a Nerf bat to my knife fight!

But anyway.

All in all, Jeremy HAS succeeded in showing us the incredible level of skill and delicacy involved in blending movies and making hybrid films. Sadly, Jeremy has NOT displayed this level of skill and delicacy, and what we’re left with is a film that starts out way too slow and ends way too fast. Neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat, “Shutter” just never managed to develop.

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