So I see these great commercials for a movie coming out starring Kiefer Sutherland named Mirrors. It actually looked like it could be a relatively disturbing and challenging horror film. It looked as if it might even have a little Asian influence to. This was not surprising, considering that U.S. studios have been grabbing up remaking pretty much any and every Asian horror film they can get their hands on. Apparently, we here in North America have lost the talent to write anything original that can strike terror in anyone’s hearts.
The movie starts after “it’s been nearly a year since volatile detective Ben Carson was suspended from the NYPD for fatally shooting another undercover officer, an accident that not only cost him his job, but fueled the alcoholism and anger that has alienated his wife and kids and left him crashing on his sister’s couch in Queens. Desperate to pull his life together, Carson takes a job as a night watchman at the burned-out ruins of the Mayflower department store, which was destroyed by a massive fire that devoured numerous innocent lives. As Carson patrols the eerie, charred remains of the store, he begins to notice something sinister about the ornate mirrors that adorn the Mayflower walls. Reflected in the gigantic shimmering glass are horrific images that stun Carson. Beyond projecting gruesome images of the past, the mirrors appear to be manipulating reality as well.”
Well, as usual, Mirrors is a mixed bag. Visually, it’s pretty stunning. The sets and atmosphere are grimy and creepy the way they should be. Sutherland’s pathetic “down-on-his-luck recovering alcoholic trying to regain his life and family” character hit all the right heartstrings. Amy Smart, playing Sutherland’s sister, is completely wasted in my opinion. Her character is in the film for what seems like a sum total of 15 minutes. The setting of the burned out mall (which, of course, used to be a mental hospital) is convincingly filthy, dark, dank, and ominous. The mirrors left all over really do add a bizarre kind of flavor to the film. They make you actually ponder being frightened by what you could see in the mirror. I couldn’t shake the feeling of déjà vu for some reason. I kept thinking about Poltergeist III and the similarities.
The first half of the film was pretty much a case of “if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen all the good parts.” It’s not until Sutherland’s character starts to solve the mystery of the film (which was very key to keeping me interested) that it really starts to pick up the pace. The flashbacks and the back story are what really make this a somewhat entertaining movie. There is definitely some disturbing and horrifying imagery during this act. Some of it uses the typical fast seizure-type filming that has been over-used ever since Jacob’s Ladder introduced in the late 80s. There are also some of those all-too typical crawling on all fours stuttery shot sequences as well. You can apparently never get enough of a good scary thing.
Overall, Mirrors is an entertaining little horror film. Regular genre moviegoers will find it a bit redundant, but I’m sure it will fill the horror quota of your average everyday viewer. I also found it extremely interesting as the credits rolled that the film is based on a Korean film called Into the Mirror. How can I just sense these things from seeing a 1 minute trailer? It’s what I do!