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Mirrors (2008)

There is evil... on the other side.

Directed by:

Alexandre Aja

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 110 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: United States

Mirrors is an OK movie, but I think it would make a spectacular drinking game. It’s not harboring just one or two horror clichés—oh no, taking a shot every time something straight out of Scary Films 101 happened would leave you pretty sloshed within half an hour. In spite of all that, though, there are also some decent scares, and predictability aside, Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension) knows how to shoot for maximum suspense and creepiness. Plus, they got Kiefer Sutherland.

Here, Kiefer’s no Jack Bauer (“24”), though he does still suffer from some major issues. As Ben Carson (Sutherland), he’s a cop on leave after a shooting sent him into an alcoholic spiral (drink!) and forced him to take work as a security guard (drink!). Estranged from his wife and children (drink!), he has no one to turn to when things start getting freaky at his new job site, an abandoned department store full of sinister mirrors (drink drink!!). Soon, Ben begins to uncover the mystery behind all the craziness, but not before the demons begin to get a little too close to home (drink!).

So, if you don’t get too involved in either the alcoholic version or just the jaded horror fan version of viewing, you’ll find yourself immersed in a sufficiently dark almost-two-hours worth of scare. On the cliché-o-meter, there’s also a kid who can also see the creepies, a hot girl in peril who manages to get wet, several overflowing bathtubs, and some creakily written expository dialogue. With so much familiarity, though, it’s almost easier to enjoy the movie, because while you know exactly where it’s going as a whole, there’s enough originality in the resolutions and payoffs to make it seem almost fresh. Aja knows how to get the most out of his subject, and I found myself marveling at how many reflective surfaces there are in everyday life. Sutherland is believable amidst the chaos, and is even able to make us wonder if maybe he’s just losing it. On the downside, some of the effects are atrocious, actually bad enough to detract from otherwise action-filled, suspenseful scenes—the fire, especially. Then there’s the bathtub scene—no spoilers here, but it’s the kind of scene people either love or hate. For me, it wasn’t consistent with the rest of the film and felt forced in for shock and gore. That’s really the flaw with the whole movie—not so much the clichés, but the uneven atmosphere. It’s like no one can ever decide if this is going to be a “classy” thriller, a shocking gore-fest, or just a classic ghost story. Aja is capable of doing all three, and it’s possible to even work all three into a cohesive package, but Mirrors falls just a little short.

It's Got: Good Kiefer, bad effects, moments of potential.

It Needs: Less cliché, better effects, better exposition scenes.

DVD Extras Uncut and Theatrical Versions; “Reflections: Making Mirrors” (Making Of doc); “Behind the Mirror” (featurette on mirrors in film, etc.); Animated Storyboard Sequence; Hospital Footage; Deleted/Alternate Scenes; Alternate Ending. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10

Summary

Clunky in some scenes, decent in other, Mirrors is an unevenly scary flick that’s utterly predictable yet still kinda scary.

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