Shutter Island Does Not Even Attempt To Thrill or Scare

Was I hungover when I made this movie?



Going through and reading a little about Shutter Island you may think that this is some prime classic novel that has just been sitting around with some huge fan base gnawing at the bit to see the thing put on the big screen.  The rumors are that Wolfgang Peterson wanted to turn it into some action spectacle, then David Fincher was attached because he is usually attached to everything at one point.  Brad Pitt was going to do it, Mary Mark was going to do it. The who’s who of who’s who wanted to make this film, but not enough to try really hard to get it made.  So we are left with probably the wrong director and ok casted lead actor for the movie, in a movie that has no good reason to have been made in the first place.


Back to this movie being based off of a book, what producer (Laeta Kalogridis, who wrote the screenplay and was one of the executive producers on Avatar) thought that this movie just HAD TO GET made?  Looking at Laeta’s writing career its two failed TV shows (Bionic Women and Birds of Prey), co-scriping (from a novel that actually had a rabid fan base looking for their book to be made into a movie) Nightwatch, Pathfinder and Alexander.  Its an interesting group of work.  Had this come out a year after Avatar I would say that she had the money to blow to do whatever she wanted to.  So at least with all those projects (TV show choices withholding) each one seemed like it was going to be something new and interesting weather they ended up that way or not is up to you, but you could see where the projects would be good source material.  So why the hard on to get this lame phycological (I use that in the least sense of the word) movie made?


*UPDATE: Having looked more into this fact I see that the book was written by Dennis Lehane who wrote the books: Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone. He was also a producer on the movie, so now its not that hard to see why it got made.


Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

So we don't have to try anymore right?

Next I want to bring up the director, Martin Scorsese.  Had this movie been directed by ANY and I mean ANY! other director (that includes Spielberg) it would have been instantly dismissed (but maybe a tad more exciting).  Same with Leo, he’s fine in the movie but its nothing special I will probably forget about his performance by the end of this sentence.  So I think its time for this actor and director to part ways because they have lost sight of what an interesting film is, and they should have known better then to have made this.  Sure maybe Scorsese wanted to do a horror film, he could have waited for a more interesting idea that hasn’t been covered a million times and much better and more effectively before.


It makes perfect sense now why this movie was pushed back from its pre Christmas release date, in hopes of an Oscar run, because even pitted against the weakest of the Oscar bait movies (The Lovely Bones) its laughably bad.  Paramount made the smart move and threw it in February where crappy horror movies have had a good run at the box office recently, so instead of get laughed at in the midst of a bunch of Award caliber movies Paramount decided to slop it in with all the other movies right now in hopes that the critics would take kindly to it and people would come out just because its Marty.


Leonardo DiCaprio

Do-Dodododo work I go today!

What is there to like about the movie?  Well I hope all the technical people were paid handsomely because the movie looks really nice for what it is, but if this thing cost less then $20 million (which it no doubt did) then it failed.  There was no reason for this sort of film to look this nice, horror/thriller films are not suppose to look BRAND NEW.  Another movie that’s similar to this and is much more effective in terms of chills, scares and psychological drama is Session 9, and I think that movie cost 10 bucks to make?  I wonder how many people outside of  the director/producers knew the WHOLE script because I bet a bunch of people thought that they were making something special.


This is easily Martin Scorsese worst film, mainly just because it’s just so bland and ineffective.  The movie has a minimal sense of style that can be seen in any other no name directors attempt to remake an Asian horror film, the acting is stuff we’ve seen before (and better) from every actor involved, and the lame TWIST of an end is just the final nail in the coffin.


The oddest thing about the whole movie and a note to anyone involved with making the film, was laughing suppose to be the most common noise heard throughout the movie?


Now for something more thrilling/scary/gross/horrifying and psychologically damaging then Shutter Island:


Check out AIBN for my more rant filled take on the movie.

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About koutchboom

WHOOMP HERE IT IS!

65 responses to “Shutter Island Does Not Even Attempt To Thrill or Scare”

  1. Jarv says :

    Rubbish Koutch- what’s wrong with Horror films looking shiny? You’ve been watching too much Saw.

    Manky does not necessarily mean better. Look at 2 of the classics from the 70’s, The Exorcist and The Omen- both of them are sumptuous, and Argento before suckage kicked in made some splendid looking stuff.

    • koutchboom says :

      Its more the whole CGI and color palet look to the movie. Plus the movie takes place in an insane asylum its suppose to look a little gritty. I think its just more the camera work, filters and stuff that make it look like this film has a gloss over it.

      Compare it to House Of the Devil, yes that movie looks nice (and more like the movies you mentioned). This movie looks like 1408. That sort of saturated bright color look.

    • koutchboom says :

      Plus also, i’d barely even call this horror. Especially compared to The Omen or Exorcist. Its more like A Beautiful Mind trying to be a horror movie.

  2. Jarv says :

    Right,

    I’ve got a choice of movies this afternoon (seeing as I can’t be arsed to go into work).

    I may watch The Black Cat for some silliness.

  3. Basement Cheetoh Eater says :

    A fair review…I don’t mind horror films with a bit of spit and polish but this one seems to be receiving a fair amount of panning from reliable sources (including you). It’s the one Dennis Lehane novel I haven’t read…but the trailer itself seems to imply that perhaps he’s imagining half of what’s going on (at least) or is possibly even an inmate (or incarcerated somewhere and hallucinating it all). I can’t get excited about this project…good to hear I won’t be missing much.

  4. koutchboom says :

    No I agree with you about their first parings, but this is just a waste.

    This isn’t a quarter as fun as the Cape Fear remake. And it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It really is closer to A Beautiful Mind more then anything. I mean there are like 2-3 of these LOUD rapterous music cues that have a little bit of strings followed by the hammering trumpet from The Matrix that BUILD BUILD BUILD for fucking nothing. Throw in 2 attempts at a jump scare. Its all over the place and not in a good way.

  5. Droid says :

    I’m interested to see this. Not out here for a few weeks so I’m going to try to avoid reading about it too much.

  6. Jarv says :

    GONY is terrible, but redeemed by Day Lewis, The Aviator is Mogodon on celluloid, and The Departed is OK but not a patch on infernal affairs.

    Overall, they aren’t great together.

  7. Bartleby says :

    Well, Im back. And Koutch, I respectfully disagree with your take.

    You are nearly right about one thing– there’s hardly a reason for this being made. Koutch does a good non-spoiler way of suggesting that the movie’s mystery isn’t as layered or original as it needs to be. Many people have done this one better and Lehane’s source material is fault.

    But the shininess, the sumptious visual style, the complete 50’s throwback style of filmmaking, and the really terrific individual scenes make this film worth seeing if you are a fan of true gothic (true meaning of the word, not those namby pamby vamp romances you like) style, then you can enjoy this one on a pure sensory level.

    It’s not even close to Scorsese’s worst movie, and I’d argue that on an entertainment level it’s miles ahead of Departed.

    But, still, this is something of a disappointment, but it isn’t remotely deserving of the flat-out rejection you give it here.

    • koutchboom says :

      Yeah it was entertaining enough, I mean I was never bored. It just seems to me Marty’s time could and should have been spent elsewhere.

      And I agree with you that the visual style is nice, but it toally does not work for the kind of story they were telling.

      Also were people laughing during most of your screening?

  8. Bartleby says :

    Also, nothing like a Beautiful Mind, with one superficial exception that I won’t get into.

    It is however, a near identical replication of ‘The Incredible Mr. Limpet’

  9. koutchboom says :

    I mean Bart. Roper called it the best film of the year. Ebert gave it 3 1/2 stars, the rolling stones guy said that you would be stupid to miss it….do you think its really THAT GOOD?

    Also the visual style is the same as 1408, and it didn’t work for me then or now. Also check out my AIBN review, its ranty but their are good points I bring up.

  10. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    Here’s what I’m saying, Koutch. Your review is mostly reactionary to external factors, like other reviews, the team-up, etc. and you seem to be extra negative to turn the tide.

    On the other hand, you give a good review to New Moon ( after that epic flamewar, I stand by my ‘crap’ review) by pointing out there are things to like if you look for them.

    It might sound odd, but I bet if you and I were sitting next to each other in the theater when we saw this (and I bet that would be a hell of a fun time) we would find we mostly agree on it. However, I’m not sure your review here conveys that.

    After the film, several of the area critics and I discussed it and came to the conclusion that it’s fun, but there’s just nothing there to really inspire, or be excited for. The ending negates it from really sticking in your memory.

    So, I think we do agree, and I promise Im not being contentious just for the sake of it.

    • koutchboom says :

      You know actually I didn’t start to read other review until I did mine! So thats really an after thought. I wrote both reviews last night.

      It’s mainly because of Scorsese. I mean I already went in with some low expectations, mainly because thats been working for me lately. But they were met. And you think you should expect more for Scorsese.

      But I’m am not joking about the laughing, people were laughing left and right at this film. That was a nother reason why I didn’t like it, I horror/thriller fails if most of the time the audience spends laughing at it.

      Did people not laugh during your screening?

  11. koutchboom says :

    In complete honesty, the best thing I can say about this is that it will be a great renter. Had I waited to rent this I probably would have liked it a lot more. There is just so much better more exciting fun stuff at the theater right now to waste your money on this.

    • Echo the Bunnyman says :

      there you go. ‘great renter’. You hit the nail on the head. You and I are in harmony once again. 🙂

      I visited your examiner site by the way, and I’ll throw in a link via twitter today for ya.

      how do you like the new gravatar?

      • koutchboom says :

        Like the new gravatar. What’s that from, it looks familiar.

        In theater (i mean at least for me) you got Eli, Edge of Darkness and Percy as being the obviously better ones. And Wolfman and From Paris being the possibly dumb fun ones. And you still have Avatar again.

      • koutchboom says :

        Also thanks for the link. I need to start using my twitter. Still not sure if I should keep wasting my time with Examiner or not.

    • Echo the Bunnyman says :

      whats the better, more fun, exciting stuff at the theater right now? I’m seeing like 4 new movies a week, and unless you go back a month or so, there ain’t much.

      Percy Jackson is the best thing to arrive in like 3 weeks.

      On the arthouse circuit, there’s some good though.

  12. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    that’s odd because when you wrote the review I thought you meant laughing on the soundtrack.

    No, I didn’t hear anyone laugh and our screening was packed-out stadium seating and I was sitting with a group of cranky, high-minded critics.

    There was actually applause when the movie ended, which surprised me. Like I say, I’m not a huge fan of the film–I’m rating it 3 out of 5 tomorrow for my AP review, but I feel like your review is more about other stuff than the film.

    I’m probably being too hard, because it’s really HARD to talk about what’s wrong with this without spoiling something.

    • koutchboom says :

      No seriously people were cracking UP! I personally wasn’t I mean I see what they were laughing at. The only time I laughed was when Leo kicked in that obviously open fence gate. And thats what I’m saying, no one was getting involved with the movie or getting scared at it.

      I pointed out at my AIBN review that some lady called it the worst movie she had ever seen as it was letting out.

  13. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    yea, people say alot of stuff at screening though….

    true examples of things I’ve heard on the way out of the theater:

    after Zodiac: “We should have seen Wild Hogs”

    after The Box: “Why was that movie called The Box? It wasn’t really about a box.”

    after Avatar: “Damn. I thought this was gonna be the cartoon. Damn.”

    after Eternal Sunshine: ‘That was a waste of time. I thought it would be like Liar Liar.”

    in the middle of Deep Blue, a docu about the ocean: “What? Why the hell are they scrimps on the screen?” Person gets up and walks out.

    • koutchboom says :

      Yeah i know that. But this was an honest response I heard her go on more about it afterward.

      It probably more where I live. Because people laughed at shit in Up In the Air…that I guess you were suppose to laugh at I just didn’t find funny. And people clapped at the end of The Lovely Bones.

      Plus I’m starting to notice its the same people at these advance screenings and most of them are like middle ages ladies and their daughters. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

  14. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    this is what Im saying–the crowd at free screenings is it’s own microcosm of humanity. You and I should make a film about it…

    For example, there’s one cinematic freeloader that is beyond all others:

    he comes to all of them, and last week when my wife and I braved a blizzard to see the (crappy) wolfman, we felt silly for driving five minutes away from our house in such dangerous conditions. This guy, who, I kid you not, lives near that Muvico Egyptian theater (I know you know the one Im talking about, it’s Cinemark no) which is an hour away by car, actually drove through the snow on a BICYCLE to come to the city to see Wolfman. He drove back along major highways in zero visibility snow and below freezing temperatures. I saw him last night at the SI screening and felt relieved to know he hadn’t froze to death.

    He said it took him 3 hours to get home.

    • koutchboom says :

      Hahahaha FUCK THAT. I won’t even waste the fucking two hours you have to stand in line unless its a movie I really want to see.

      Case in point, I had tickets for She’s out of My Leauge on Tuesday. And that movie doesn’t come out for another month.

    • koutchboom says :

      But still at the same time. The WHOLE audience was laughing at the movie not just one or two people, the whole thing.

      It was probably one of those things had I been a producer on the movie I would have freaked out and added in extra shit made a bunch of zany cuts and ended up with a fucking odd movie that didn’t make much sense…..i wish I had seen that movie last night.

  15. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    Koutch, the screenings are slim pickings now…next week I have Cop Out, St. John of Las Vegas and The Crazies.

    Right now, I feel like The Crazies shows the most promise.

    • koutchboom says :

      Really you think Disney Moneybags son can make a good movie????

      My moneys on Cop Out, I need that movie to be awesome.

      • Echo the Bunnyman says :

        Dude, are you serious? I think your needs shan’t be met.

        Willis can be good, but he’s done his share of crap. Smith and Morgan do not bode well for it.

        If I’m wrong, I’ll gladly admit it, but this just looks like 16 MORE BLOCKS to me.

      • koutchboom says :

        I just need it to be good!!! We haven’t even had a buddy cop film since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. And I want the genre to come back!

  16. xiphos0311 says :

    after Avatar: “Damn. I thought this was gonna be the cartoon. Damn.”

    It wasn’t? Okay.

  17. Tom_Bando says :

    *Aviator was pretty okay in my book. Cate Blanchette as Katherine Hepburn. Worked for me.

    *I also liked the Departed for what it was. DiCaprio, Damon and Marky Mark in the same movie. Again-pretty good.

    *This movie looks like a miss-miss, so no interest here. Maybe they needed to try again?

    *Needed a Gandhi Robot.

  18. koutchboom says :

    So Echo you liked it better then me? I just wasn’t all that impressed with the visual stuff, it was good just nothing special.

    And I still don’t see how you can say that this is nothing like A Beautiful Mind, save for the endings they are both tales about paranoia.

  19. japudas says :

    Damn, man, you are tough on this flick. I agree that it’s not nearly as fun as his Cape Fear remake, but I didn’t think Shutter Island was a flat-out bad movie. A lot of the things you speak to bothered me – mostly the fact that it’s a twist film through and through – but I hesitate to dismiss the movie outright. I worship Martin Scorsese more than any other director, so whenever he turns out something that falls short of being a masterpiece, it feels all the more disappointing.

    In terms of technical polish and execution, the movie is nearly flawless. You can fault some of the writing, but the acting, cinematography, music, and especially the sound design were all top-notch. My blogger compadre Mike gives the movie more credit than I do – he’s got a theory that the movie is an intelligent exercise exploring how audiences perceive a film character’s sanity – but I did enjoy it too. Having said that, I’d rank Shutter Island amongst his bottom five films, if just by process of elimination.

    • koutchboom says :

      I’m tough on the flick because even though I didn’t read any reviews till after I wrote mine I knew people would go soft on it. Roper called it a fucking masterpiece. Rolling Stone said that you would be stupid if you didn’t see this movie.

      Really the best thing I can say about it, is that it would make a great rental. And I agree with you about the look of the film is great, and the acting is fine (just most of the cast have been in and done SOOO much better work in this area so its hard not to sit there and compare, Baffalo Bill for example, also the cast of Zodiac with Mark doing the same role).

      But what really bothered me and why I feel this movie is just a straight out failure (outside of the plot), is that I was never once scared, thrilled, worried, nervous or excited and you need to feel some of those emotions to enjoy a movie like this. And the fact that audience was just laughing at the movie shows that it wasn’t just me.

      Plus it is Scorsese, you expect his films to eclipse similar films. And for my for a good psycological thriller I’d rather see Sessions 9 or even A Beautiful Mind again.

  20. Droid says :

    So you were tough on the movie because you were anticipating positive reviews?

    That makes zero sense. Review the movie for what it is and not other peoples opinions.

    • koutchboom says :

      No at the time I really was fucking pissed. I hated the movie, I was so mad he fucking picked this script. Maybe I should have waited a little longer before writing my review, but I stand by it because I really feel that end the end its just a waste of time.

      Since then I’ve just been astonished how overly positive some people have been towards it.

  21. Droid says :

    Read the NY Times review then. That might calm you down.

    Or just yell…

    SERENITY NOW!!!

    • koutchboom says :

      Micheal Phillips review was good enough to know that not everyone had their head up Marty’s ass. I’ll wait for more of you guys to see it, even if that means waiting for it to come on cable.

  22. SarahJM says :

    Why is everyone referring to this as a horror movie?
    I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve read the book, and it certainly wasn’t a “horror” book. It was more of a mystery novel than anything.

    • koutchboom says :

      The movie isn’t straight up horror, though its not really a mystery. Its a psychological thriller with a horror setting. I guess you could say its a mystery, but because of the ending I think takes a lot of wind out of those sails.

    • Jarv says :

      I haven’t read the novel, but I have seen the trailer for this, and I think that they’re trying to sell it as a horror.

      If that’s the case, then it’s another example of shitty marketing and it isn’t doing the film any favours.

  23. koutchboom says :

    After having sat on this for some time, the closest movie ENTERTAINMENT wise speaking I can compare this to is The Road. It looks all nice and isn’t boring. Based on a book and probably stays too close to the book then it should’ve. Which is ok for a second time director, but not for Scorsese.

    So if you want to leave the theater underwhelmed then check it out. Its like the SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER of ummm Dramatic films? All visual and style and no real substance.

  24. koutchboom says :

    Well the At the Movie guys both gave it a skip it.

  25. Neil says :

    I agree a bit on the whole Scorsese/DiCaprio relationship. Perhaps its just me, but I don’t get the infatuation Scorsese has with DiCaprio. It certainly doesn’t even come close to the working relationship he had with De Niro. Though I think The Departed was an exception.

    • Jarv says :

      No I don’t get it either, and I haven’t really gone overboard for any of their collaborations.

      The Departed was OK at best, but not a patch on Infernal Affairs.

    • koutchboom says :

      Yeah i think its time for them to go their seperate ways. Scorsese needs to bring De Niro in so he can do something respectable as his last movie not the crap he’s doing right now.

    • koutchboom says :

      Damn. I’d like to read that. That is the hardest movie for me to wrap my head around as to why people think so much of it. Because I feel that its more of a generational thing, and how at the time the physical transformation De Niro did was such a huge thing, not such much anymore.

      • Droid says :

        You care too much about what other people think.

        If you like it, good. If you don’t, good. Who gives a shit what other people think?

      • Jarv says :

        It’s a good article Droid.

        Seriously, it’s about the making of.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah Droid you act like its a bad thing that I’m curious about the movie.

      • Jarv says :

        I didn’t mean like that- I meant if something is regarded as a classic, in this case Raging Bull, and it just doesn’t do it for you, it can be interesting to read a well researched and well written article praising it.

        That’s all.

      • koutchboom says :

        are you talking to me or droid with that? because thats what I thought you meant.

      • Jarv says :

        everybody- including myself. I didn’t phrase it particularly well first time out.

      • Droid says :

        Koutch, my apologies, I thought you were referring to Shutter Island. I didn’t really read it properly cause I was trying to fix my piece of shit work computer. I saw this…

        That is the hardest movie for me to wrap my head around as to why people think so much of it.

        and made an assumption. My mistake.

        Raging Bull is brilliant IMO.

    • koutchboom says :

      No I’m not talking just OTHER people. I mean Raging Bull is considered a classic amoung pretty much everyone. And with most classics I can usually see why they are that, but I just really can’t with that movie.

      Its more of a analytical thing then anything. I probably need to watch it again.

      And I don’t dislike the movie, I just do not think its that great let alone anything special. Like I saw it about two years ago, and I remember more about watching it then I did the actual movie. I was all excited to see it I saw it in the middle of the day so it wasn’t like I watched it at 1AM and just don’t remember. I should remember it but I just don’t. I remember more about Taxi Driver which I saw I think over ten years ago last.

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