Thursday, 24 February 2011



There's a lot of hate out there for this, Alexandre Aja's adaptation of the Korean film Into The Mirror, and to be honest I don't believe the hate is entirely justified. Certainly it's not a great film, but it does boast a number of nicely timed jump moments and a few genuinely creepy sequences. Not to mention some spectacular KNB effects work, chunks of which were lopped out by the distributors for its 15-rated cinema release but which was happily restored for the DVD release. But Mirrors does suffer badly from a miscast lead, some atrocious lines of dialogue that'll have you wincing more than the scene where a character rips their own jaw off, and some genuinely awesome moments of stupidity.

Traumatised after shooting an undercover police offer, former cop Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) is turning his life around: he's off the booze, he's taking his medication, and he's got a job as nightwatchman on the site of the burned-out Mayflower department store. But something is lurking behind the giant mirrors: watching, reflecting things that aren't there, driving people to their deaths. Does it have something to do with the Mayflower's earlier incarnation as a mental hospital and their unorthodox treatments for schizophrenia that apparently resulted in a bloody massacre? With his own family in increasing jeopardy from the reflections, Carson tracks down the survivor of the massacre - an elderly nun reluctant to return to the scene of her childhood torture - to put thing right in the explosive monster finale.

But Kiefer Sutherland is entirely the wrong actor for the lead, as he's basically playing it as a demon-infested episode of 24, abducting a nun at gunpoint as if he's still Jack Bauer, and delivering the most gigglesome of dialogue in an identical manner. Although I don't know who could utter "Don't make me threaten you!" and "Stay away from the water - it creates reflections!" and not get the big laughs heard at FrightFest in 2008. I laughed then, and I laughed again watching it on DVD. But it's a well-mounted, well shot, sometimes nasty horror film with nice production design for the derelict department store and some good jump scares, and it really isn't the abysmal disaster it's been labelled. And I'm really wondering what Mirrors 2 is like.


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