Monday, March 24, 2008

Movie Review: Shutter and horror audio

This movie was barely advertised at all. For some reason the ad in the paper appealed to me. And it wasn't bad. It'd better than many movies in this genre. It's not a slasher flick. But the stuff that creeped me out the most were the sound effects. I'll get to that after the review.

"Shutter" is the story of a photographer and his new bride that take a trip to Japan for a contract photography session. When they look at their honeymoon photos there's weird streaks on most of them. Then on the drive to their new job they hit some woman standing in the middle of the road. More and more photos turn up streaky. One of the husband's big expensive photo sessions is completely ruined. A moving figure in one of the developing photos splashes developer chemicals in the husband's eyes. Still, he refuses to believe there's a problem. Eventually the wife's investigations reveal that the spirit is that of one of her husband's ex-girlfriends. Is she a jealous ex trying to drive off the new wife or a wronged woman trying to warn off the next victim?

It's not a bad movie. It's just the season that there's nothing much better to see. Will not get on DVD. Best seen in a second run theatre.

Now, uh, the sound effects. Go back several years. 2002 or 3. I was playing "Thief 2", one of the best computer games ever. Even my parrot loves this game. There's one level with a haunted library. As I crept through the secret passage toward that room a breezy, whispering, mumbling, groaning sound got louder and louder. It was really creeping me out. I armed up, saved my game, and opened the door. It was a library. Rows upon rows of shelves. Rows upon rows of blind corners that could be hiding anything. The sound continued. A light, transparent figured moved up on the second level. I started down the carpeted path. My parrot was on my shoulder staring intently at the screen. Step by careful step I moved along, trying not to draw the attention of the thing on the next level and watching the shelves for something to step out. But nothing did. Instead it materialized about six inches from my face. Gandolf screamed and flew off. I screamed and knocked over my chair. By the time I got back the apparition was gone.

Later I called up my girlfriend at the time. I knew she was at work. I wanted her answering machine. I placed the phone by the speaker and let it run for 30 seconds or so before hanging up. Aaaanyway, I'm single now. But she was thoroughly freaked out just by that one clip of audio.

A few years later I was in my new house and Halloween was coming. I moved my old computer by the window, played the game to that room on that level, stuffed the character where I knew he wouldn't get hurt, and dropped the speakers out the window. Then I watched the reaction of people on the sidewalk. Adults slowed and then hurried away. High school girls bickered about who would have to approach the house first. One little boy, 5 years old or so, froze about half way between the gate and the house.

There were a couple of scenes in the movie that had sound effects much like in the game. Those were the creepiest part of the movie.

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