Shutter Press Junket Focuses on Spirit Photography

Fox is amping up the promotion on SHUTTER, the new horror film opening on March 21. There were advance screenings last week for several media outlets that don’t always get such treatment, and on Friday there was a junket in the glorious Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard (currently the home of the WICKED stage production). Stars Joshua Jackson (DAWSON’S CREEK) and Rachael Taylor (TRANSFORMERS) were on hand to discuss the film, which is about “spirit photography” – i.e., images of ghost captured on film.


Joshua Jackson in SHUTTER

SHUTTER (as most American horror films seem to be these days) is based on an Asian film, but in this case there is a difference from the usual remake: The original SHUTTER (2004) was made in Thailand. The new version is an American-Japanese co-production. The writer is American; the director is Japanese, and so is producer Taka Ichise who gave us the original Japanese versions of RING and JU-ON, as well as their American remakes THE RING and THE GRUDGE.

The invitation for the junket also offered interviews with paranormal experts and told us that the Pantages is one of Hollywood’s haunted spots. I saw no spirits during my brief sojourn into the vaulted caverns of the venerable building, but if any place deserves to be haunted, the Pantages is certainly one of them.

Part of the promotional push has been to the spirit photography as a real phenomenon, which I find rather amusing. The film itself even has James Kyson Lee (HEROES) walk on for a one-scene cameo in which he delivers a history of spirit photography, explaining that the phenomenon has existed since the birth of photography during the Victorian Era. Back in 2006, I attended Immaterial World, an exhibition of such old-time ghost photographs, and they are not in the least bit likely to convince any modern viewer of the existence of ghosts. Take a gander at the example on the right if you don’t believe me, or read my review of the exhibition here.

Regardless of the “reality” of spirit photography, it does make an interesting backdrop for a movie, and SHUTTER is no worse than recent remakes like THE EYE and ONE MISSED CALL; in fact, it is a good deal better, even if it doesn’t quite hit the horror highs of something like THE GRUDGE.

I’ll be posting my coverage of the film next week. In the meantime, you can click here to read the first part of the Joshua Jackson interview, in which he talks about his upcoming TV series pilot for J.J. Abrams, FRINGE.