Thursday 17 May 2012

Mirrors (2008)

Mirrors, I've always been fascinated and a little bit spooked by them ever since I read about what happened when Alice went through the looking glass. Then reading the fantastic Mirror by Graham Masterton didn't help. Perhaps it's the result of watching horror movies for years featuring the old close-the-medicine-cabinet-to-reveal-figure-in-the-mirror trick but I've always had a belief that if I ever see something truly inexplicable and terrifying it will be in a mirror. I simply don't trust 'em but they're everywhere.

Which leads me to Mirrors, yet another remake from director Alexandre Aja. It's not an exact copy but Aja co-wrote the screenplay with Gregory Levasseur based on the Korean movie entitled Into The Mirror (a film I enjoyed but that I also need to rewatch for reviewing purposes). While I agree with many people who say that they'd like to see Aja direct something truly original* I also have to say that I don't really mind his preference for helming remakes when they're as entertaining as this.

Kiefer Sutherland plays Ben Carson, a cop who is no longer acting as a cop due to the unfortunate incident in which he accidentally shot someone that he shouldn't. This has led to him struggling with his feelings, struggling with alcohol abuse and struggling to keep a relationship working with his wife (Paula Patton) and two young kids. He's sleeping on a sofa in the home of his sister (Amy Smart) and trying to get back to his best, one step at a time. When he takes a job as a security officer in a grand department store building that was majorly damaged by a deadly fire he hopes for the best. Unfortunately, the mirrors in the building have seen so much that they act differently from normal mirrors and Ben soon starts questioning his sanity while seeing more and more disturbing images. As if that wasn't bad enough, abnormal reflections may also aim to harm his family.

Mirrors works well because a) it's about mirrors (please refer to my first paragraph) and b) it mixes some nice strangeness with many jump scares and one or two excellent gore effects. In fact, one highlight is so good that I'm barely restraining myself from going into more detail but when you see it you'll be very impressed. Okay, the first half may actually have one or two jump scares too many and the finale is a bit of a letdown but the rest is solid entertainment. Decent performances from the cast (Sutherland, Patton, Smart, Cameron Boyce and Erica Gluck as the kids, etc) help to keep you engrossed and the threat to the characters is actually palpable once the film moves into top gear.

It may not be a modern classic but it's certainly a very well made, entertaining movie that makes good use of the central concept and may make you look twice the next time you catch sight of your reflection.


*I think everyone knows by now the clamour that occurred when the excellent Haute Tension AKA Switchblade Romance was released and people spotted how similar it was to Intensity, a novel by Dean R. Koontz.

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