Mirrors (2008)

Alexandre Aja

Keifer Sutherland - Ben Carson
Paula Patton - Amy Carson
Cameron Boyce - Michael Carson
Erica Gluck - Daisy Carson
Amy Smart - Angela Carson
Mary Beth Peil - Anna Esseker
Jason Flemyng - Larry Byrne

Genre - Horror/ Supernatural

Running Time - 112 Minutes

Score - 2 Howls Outta 4

PLOT - MIRRORS is a remake [what else] of a South Korean film from 2003 called INTO THE MIRRORS. Ben Carson (Keifer Sutherland) is a former NYPD detective who quit the force after he killed an undercover officer in the line of duty. His fellow officers look down on him, he's an alcoholic, his wife (Paula Patton) threw him out of the house so he barely sees his two children (Cameron Boyce and Erica Gluck), and he's now living with his sister (Amy Smart). Feeling he needs to put some normalcy back in his life, Ben takes a security guard job at the Mayflower, a place that was burnt down in an arson fire years earlier and now is caught in some red tape by the insurance company.

On his first night, Ben starts experiencing some weird things that continue to happen outside of the Mayflower. After receiving a package from the previous worker, who happened to have his throat slashed supposedly through suicide with a mirror shard, Ben realizes that the Mayflower harbors an evil that is dying to get out. The evil happens to be trapped within mirrors, using the reflections of people and using the mirror image to kill them. When Ben realizes his family is targeted by this demonic presence, he does everything in his power to satisfy this evil's demands in order to save their lives.


STORY - I've never seen INTO THE MIRRORS, so I can't compared that to the remake. But MIRRORS was a decent flick that didn't do enough to make it a good flick and definitely a better film than ONE MISSED CALL, THE EYE, and SHUTTER. Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur wrote the screenplay and I kind of wish they didn't. It's not horrible and you do understand pretty much what's going on. But it hurts what could have been a pretty cool film. The idea of mirrors harboring evil is pretty scary. We all look at mirrors or anything that reflects our self-image every day. Not only do they give us a glimpse of what we look life, but it also metaphorically shows us our mortality by representing a double of ourselves. Hell, looking into ourselves is scary as we wall all that up with our outer shell. The idea of mirrors is different than phones, camera, and computers. We can live without technology. But our reflection will always be there, which makes MIRRORS' premise frightening. Unfortunately, the mirrors are only used as a plot device to show off decent CGI effects and cool death scenes, but never revealing much else as to why the demon is harbored inside of them. Anyone who has taken Psychology can tell you that mirrors represent a form of schizophrenia, creating two different visions of the same person. But someone not knowledgable in that would be totally lost on the concept.

As for the narrative structure, I dug the first 2 acts over the last act. The beginning and middle of the film were pretty strong due to decent characterization, especially for the Ben character. At times, his paranoia over the mirrors made you question whether the dude was nuts or was the supernatural stuff legit. And his struggle to make others see what he was seeing was done nicely as well, creating tension. I wish that the whole backstory of Ben shooting that cop was elaborated upon and more of his personal struggles with his personal demons could have been focused on more because they were the meat of the story for me. I was expecting a character study and a psychological drama/thriller here. But I didn't get that and I was left feeling empty.

I also thought the last act is your standard, conventional horror finale that turns an interesting premise into a "seen it all before" fest. And I wish the twist was done better, even though I kind of dug it in a weird way. I just wanted more of an explanation as to the use of the mirrors and the whole Esseker deal [which was explained but in a really bland, expository way]. More depth was needed here to really make MIRRORS stand out. Here's the case where a film starts off strong but loses a lot of steam at the finish line.

DIRECTION - Alexandre Aja may not have written a great script, but the man knows how to direct a horror film. If HIGH TENSION and THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake didn't already tell you, Mr. Aja knows his visual style and has no shame in showing it off. The set pieces were great and Aja really used them to his advantage. I liked how dark and bleak the film seemed to feel. There was definitely nice tension going on. And the special effects, especially the death scenes [the Amy Smart one in particular], were spot on. This was a gory film and Aja didn't try to hide it. I do think that MIRRORS is his most "mainstream Hollywood" flick [I actually prefer his other works personally] but it's a whole lot better than most of the remakes that I've seen recently.

VIOLENCE/SEX/LANGUAGE [aka THE GOOD STUFF] - Like I said before, MIRRORS has its gore. A beautifully shot sliced throat sequence at the beginning works. Someone gets blown up to bits. And the Amy Smart bathtub scene - oh yeah I dug that alot. The fire sequence was a bit silly in a bad way though. As for sex, we get Amy Smart nude - WORKS FOR ME! And Paula Patton has nice nipples. THANKS! The language is your standard R rated stuff.

ACTING - Here's the saving grace of the film. Keifer Sutherland is just awesome as Ben. The dude can act out of a paper bag, as I was totally convinced with whatever struggle Ben was going through. The fear, the pain, the paranoid ticks he would have - totally bought every single one. I kind of wish he was in a better film because I think he's above this kind of material. But he saves MIRRORS from being a shitty flick because a lesser actor would have sunk this ship. Paula Patton was good as Amy. I found her to be very credible in her role and I liked her chemistry with Sutherland. Plus she was hot too, which helps. Amy Smart is always cool with me and I wish she were in the film more than she was. But she showed us her T and her A, so I can't complain too much. Everyone else did their thing as well. Nice cast.

MUSIC - Javier Navarrete did the soundtrack and I dug it. It fit MIRRORS like a glove.

Probably Alexandre Aja's least inspiring work as a director, but MIRRORS was a better film than I was expecting it to be. It's not HIGH TENSION or THE HILLS HAVE EYES, but Aja tried his best to make MIRRORS work - even if it was in vain most of the time. Still, I love the premise and the acting was great. Nice gore and nudity added to my entertainment. If only the script was tighter, this could have been a very good horror flick. It took me a while to get into it, but I don't regret watching MIRRORS. Average flick that's worth a rental.

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