The fortress-like mental hospital that Martin Scorsese explores in Shutter Island instantly joins the ranks of Hill House, the Overlook Hotel and the Danvers State Mental Hospital (Session 9) as one of the great eerie edifices of horror. Adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island is a glorious Gothic contraption that finds Scorsese working in top form.
Scorsese previously tried his hand (with great success) at making a horror-thriller with 1991's Cape Fear but whereas Scorsese's direction in that film felt like he was utilizing every trick at his disposal, flexing his prodigious cinematic muscles to over-compensate for somewhat pedestrian material, he doesn't go for the same kind of bells and whistles here. Although every facet of Shutter Island benefits from Scorsese's meticulous attention, the focus is primarily on story and performances rather than eye-grabbing camera moves.
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