Mirrors (2008)

Mirrors Poster

Mirrors is a remake of Korean horror film Geoul Sokeuro. However, I am not familiar with the original movie, so I cannot compare the two. There is a popular consensus among horror fans that most US remakes of Asiatic genre movies are frequently inferior to the originals. Atmosphere, tension and the unique cultural ambience are  substituted by violence and clumsy shocks. It would appear that upon its release the critics felt that Mirrors was no different. So I watched the film with very low expectations. Director Alexandre Aja back catalogue is a somewhat mixed bag with rmakes of such titles as The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha.

Kiefer Sutherland plays an ex-cop coming to terms with an accidental shooting. He’s a recovering alcoholic who’s estranged from his wife and family. Taking a job as a night watchman in a derelict department store, he soon discovers that an evil force seems to reside in the mirrors that line the walls. It would appear that he is required to carry out a task for this malevolent entity and failure to do so will place his loved ones in jeopardy.

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There is a very intriguing premise at the heart of this film, regarding the cultural fascination and fear of our own reflection. The idea of our own image acting independently to ourselves and even harming us is creepy. It is handled in the initial stages of this film quite well by French director Alexandre Aja. But once the plot explores the reasons behind these events, the explanation becomes a little more formulaic. Towards the end, the story does pick up with the introduction of the concept that all reflective surfaces could be potentially dangerous. This results in some quite creative set pieces.

The cast is adequate and the performances are satisfactory. Sutherland and Paula Patton are an sympathetic couple. Julian Glover makes a small appearance as the ubiquitous old man that expedites the plot. The production design is suitably moody and atmospheric. The CGI effects are not excessive and the prosthetics are exceptionally unpleasant. The film includes a death scene that is particularly grim, involving the victim’s breaking their own bottom jaw. There is also a rather graphic throat cutting at the beginning of the movie.

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I was pleasantly surprised with Mirrors, finding it entertaining and somewhat scary. The film has a very European sense of style and pace, with is a “sting in the tail” which is unusual for a mainstream studio picture. It’s certainly no master piece but is not exactly the dogs dinner it’s been labelled. It was certainly more violent than I was anticipating but the director seems to have a penchant for such things. It’s a shame in a way because with a little more emphasis on suspense Mirrors could have been a better movie.

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