I think I’ll use this fresh rage to kick off a new editorial category for the site: The Studio Card Says Moops: AKA, The Customer is Wrong.
In this case, it happens to be that there are no countries in Asia other than Japan.
The evidence is the slated remake of Thai film Shutter. It is no secret that the film is a favorite around these parts, but do not confuse this post with further hype for the original film. I don’t think it is untouchable. I’m not going apeshit over the fact that it caught the eye of someone in a suit in Hollywood.
The story revolves around a young American couple on their honeymoon in Tokyo who begin seeing ghostly images in their photos as well as around them.
I don’t think that a remake has to be an ironclad recreation of every frame of the original, but for fucks sake why change the setting from Thailand to Tokyo?
The only conceivable rationale behind the change is the success off the Grudge franchise (not to mention its exposure to the original Ju-Ons or Ringus), which sets itself blindly in Japan for the sake of exploiting the now familiar yūrei ghost depiction.
What kills it all, however, is that there is no reason whatsofuckingever to set the damned thing in Asia! If they’re not going to bother having Asian characters, why in the fuck does the haunter have to be Japanese? The movie is about a group of people who start seeing the same ghost in their photographs. Period. Not a group of people who start seeing dead Asian women.
Re-setting the film in Japan is a seemingly insignificant change (and a slap in the face to the original, Thai filmmakers), yes, but more importantly, it is wholly indicative of the superficial motives behind the remake. On top of that, by casting American leads and Japanese villains, all you’re doing is making out Japanese women to be monsters.