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(2008), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (1hr 21min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
April 14, 2008
April 18, 2008

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2008), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] ...but Jackson is not married to Taylor.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Ozla Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Vertigo Entertainment
Distribution (US): Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Director(s): Masayuki Ochiai
Producer(s): Doug Davison, Takashige Ichise, Roy Lee, Sonny Mallhi
Screenplay by: Luke Dawson
Cinematography/Camera: Katsumi Yanagishima
Music: Nathan Barr
Film Editing: Timothy Alverson, Michael N. Knue
Production Design: Norifumi Ataka
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

From the executive producers of The Grudge and The Ring comes ShutteR. It comes from the same mold as The Grudge. It has the same feel. It has the same appearance. It has a few other similarities. For example, in The Grudge it is a house that carries a grudge. In ShutteR a woman, a dead woman carries a grudge against her assailants and finds a way to make one of her assailants suffer it ... for the rest of his life.

Upon being offered a really nice photography job in Japan, Benjamin Shaw (Joshua Jackson) marries his girlfriend, Jane (Rachael Taylor) and takes her with him. It is in Japan Jane meets one of Ben's old flames, Megumi Tanaka (Megumi Okina). Though Megumi is dead, it does not stop her from letting Jane know about her past relationship with Ben.

We've all had one of these relationships. Most of us anyway. S/he who once was a significant other for you won't go away, clings, simply will not let go, tries to make one feel guilty with "after all we've been through" and showing up almost everywhere you and a new friend go. That is the way it is with Megumi towards Ben. At least that is what Ben says. Even death could not stop Megumi. Does Ben have something to hide?

Megumi starts her invasion of Ben's life by standing in the road as Ben and Jane drive, Jane driving, to reach Ben's new job. After Megumi is trounced under the wheels of the car, she is nowhere to be found. Ben was asleep as this happened and now questions whether Jane is imagining the incident since even the police can find no body. But then, Megumi was already dead when Jane hit Megumi with the car. Where would one look for the dead body of a dead body?

Shrugging it off, Ben reports to his new fashion shoot on the steps in front of the TGK corporate building in the bright sunlight. But as Ben develops the photos he notices some smears and other eerie images contaminating the photos. The entire shoot is ruined.

By chance Jane finds out about a magazine that specializes in "spirit photos" -- photos that show spirits of the dead clouding and slithering around in the background of the photos. Jane is convinced a ghostly apparition has begun to invade their lives. Soon, Jane puts two and two together and figures the images in the photos are of Megumi's spirit. It is a vengeful spirit, seeking to get compensation for that which was ripped from her.

The story and plot blossoms from there into a full-fledged mystery thriller of sorts. But that is subjective opinion. Let me get to the facts.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
This investigation area had nine out of 100 starting points left after the CAP model made its findings based on the content. Each of the instances of demonstration of violence or violent behaviors were not all that severe ... but there were enough instances to erase all but nine of the 100 starting points. Megumi getting hit by the Shaw car was indeed quite a graphic display. A parasite crawling around under the skin of a human face then popping out in the eye was also quite graphic. Another eye was decimated by the unholy kickback from a camera. Ben was almost murdered by a super-long demon tongue into his throat. An attempted suicide by electrocution was not all that pleasant. [Eph. 4:27, Rom. 12:9]

Impudence/Hate (I)
The three/four letter word vocabulary was used only four times in this PG-13 film, which is very atypical for a PG-13, but other issues of the impudence and/or hateful nature stole almost half of the starting 100 points in the investigation area. One insolent expression used, "bite me", is originally an expression of a homosexual behavior but it is used here as a hateful comment not related to sexual behavior. Ben lies to Jane a number of times [Rev. 21:8]. Further, the most foul of the foul words is used but only once. [Col. 3:8, Prov. 8:13]

Sexual Immorality (S)
ShutteR is loaded with sexually immoral behavior and imagery. Indeed, there is enough sexually immoral content to erase all the starting 100 points in this investigation area. Ben and Jane are in bed a number of times, dressed and undressed (though no gender-specific parts are seen), making out and planning sex. There are innuendo regarding intercourse. Jane strips to her underwear (more than once) while the camera focuses on her crotch while she is on her knees with them spread apart in scant underwear. An entire photo shoot is of a woman in her underwear. And on top of these sexually immoral behaviors and images, a sequence of sexual assault of Megumi is seen with an offscreen rape murder. [Rev. 21:8, Gal. 5:19 - 21, 1Ths. 4:1-5]

A note about the scenes of Ben and Jane having sex. That is what married people do. One might then ask "What's the big deal?" Ben may be stage married to Jane but Jackson is not married to Taylor. And "acting" does not excuse sin. Further, what a husband and wife do in the privacy of their lives is not for public viewing.

Drugs/Alcohol (D)
As is evidently typical; of PG-13 movies, ShutteR presents drinking, drunkenness and booze. It also demonstrates the use of drugs to extort. [1 Cor. 6:10]

While the use of drugs to extort is sinful enough, a 2002 study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage kids. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete restrictions.

    The researchers selected R-rated movies because they assumed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of "R-13" proven by this ministry in 2000 (see R-13) which Harvard University scientists corroborated four years later (see Harvard Agrees With Us. The bottom line? The focus is that the influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification. [Eph. 5:18]

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    Our studies provide an additional parameter for the ACP study. While booze, drinking and smoking in and as entertainment indeed embolden defiance of rule and law and take their toll on wholesome decision-making skills of youth, our studies indicate the influence is not so much the presentation of booze and cigarettes in and as entertainment as it is the attitude portrayed by and with the drinking and smoking. See ATTITUDE: In Perspective -- Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations, Special Report-001 for more information on the strongest proselytizing element in modern entertainment not being sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, etc. but is the attitude: the attitude of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom from consequences. Further, note that it is indeed attitude that emboldens youth to defy rule and law. Note also that attitude (impudence, arrogance, a proud look, "haughty eyes") is the first in the list of seven behaviors our Lord hates. [Prov. 6:16 - 19]

    Offense to God (O)
    Twelve times the name of our Lord is abused in Shutter. Once with the four letter expletive. But that is not why this film lost all the starting 100 points in this investigation area. the greatest loss was due to spiritism and unholy manifestations of the spirit of a dead woman. The entire theme of the film is about the spirit of Megumi manifesting itself in the lives of living humans. [Lev. 20:6, 1 Tim. 4:1, Lev. 19:31]

    Murder/Suicide (M)
    In addition to the offscreen sexual murder of Megumi, one of Ben's cohorts commits murder of the self (suicide) by jumping off a balcony. [Ex 20:13]


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Eph. 4:27 and do not give the devil a foothold. [Embracing demons, witches and spirits of the dead in and as entertainment is doing just that.]
  • Rom. 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. [I realize the connection between this verse and the context of evil in the film is loose at best, but this is a good opportunity to plant a Seed about "love the sinner but hate the sin."]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers [all forms of evil/magic to force or do harm], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy (injurious speech, slander in this use), filthy communication [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene] out of your mouth.
  • Prov. 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this [and remain unforgiven] will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • 1Ths. 4:1-5 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his [or her] own body [which includes control of drives, touching, seeking, lusting (even after images), promiscuity, etc.] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; [Be master of your body and urges, not a slave to them or a seeker of any manner of sexually-oriented imagery or behavior outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. For any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • 1 Cor. 6:10 Nor [unforgiven] thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [By intoxicating the body with alcohol or drugs we abuse the body, the Temple.]
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. [Proud: ruwm {room} - to rise, rise up, be set on high, be lofty, be exalted. Look: ahyin {ah-yin} - eye, sight, conceit, pleased (with self).]
  • Lev. 20:6 I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.
  • 1 Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
  • Lev. 19:31 Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.
  • Ex 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. (NIV) You shall not murder. [Suicide is murder of the self.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    ShutteR (2008) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • graphic death by car
  • horror flashes
  • parasite crawling under facial skin then popping out in eye
  • explosive startle
  • attempted suicide
  • eye decimation gore
  • blood gore
  • breaking and entering
  • decayed corpse gore
  • implied suicide by cyanide
  • attempted murder by choking with super long tongue
  • assault
  • attempted suicide by electrocution

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • four uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • "bite me" [though this is originally an expression of a homosexual behavior it as used in a hateful manner not related to sexual behavior]
  • lies to wife

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • man and woman in bed making out planning sex
  • innuendo re: intercourse
  • woman on man in bed portrayed as nude
  • woman on man stripping to upper nudity
  • woman in underwear, repeatedly
  • camera angle to force viewer on crotch of woman in scant underwear
  • inappropriate "professional" touch
  • animated excess cleavage
  • rude stare
  • man and woman in bed together
  • woman stripping to underwear
  • photo shoot of woman in underwear, multiple angles and perspectives
  • man in underwear
  • series of sexual assaults ending in death (death unseen)
  • rape (offscreen)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D)
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • booze
  • drugging to extort
  • drunkenness

    Offense to God (O)
    • "spirit" photos, frequent
  • walls filled with "spirit" photos
  • unholy manifestation of a spirit, frequent, of varying severity
  • constant theme of spiritism and spirit manifestation
  • insects spewing from a man's mouth
  • "spirit" as "monkey" on a man's back

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • suicide by jumping, graphic
  • sexual murder (unseen)

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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