Genres: Horror, Thriller,

Rated: R

Country: USA

Year: 2008

Runtime: 110 minutes

Studio: Castel Film

Review done by: Serial McKiller
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, Cameron Boyce, Erica Gluck, Amy
Smart, Mary Beth Peil

Director: Alexandre Aja

Synopsis: An ex-cop and his family are the target of an evil force that is
using mirrors as a gateway into their home.


Horror director Alexandre Aja is an interesting figure to me. I wasn't a big fan
of his french, slasher debut "High Tension", but there was something of
minor interest there. His 2005 remake of Wes Craven's "The Hills Have Eyes"
is an interesting footnote as well as it's a film that (for some reasons that are
still very hazy to me) I liked it, despite it being a big, ugly, messing snuff film.
But then again I suppose that may have been the point. Then last year came
"P2" which he co-wrote and produced for Summit Entertainment. "P2" actually
worked. In fact it worked far better than it should have. It was a true blue
straight from the 80's thriller that takes that sharp left turn into horror. It
wasn't packed with gore or fake outs around every single corner and for a
low budget film it didn't quite look it.

Aja's directorial return is "Mirrors" based on an Asian horror film of a similar
title. Here's a pretty dicey bag of tricks. The plot is Kiefer Sutherland (tv's
"24") as Ben, a former NYPD officer and recovering alcoholic who's trying to
get back on his feet. He lives with his sister Angie played by Amy Smart ('The
Butterfly Effect' and 'Rat Race') and is attempting to reconnect with his wife
Amy played by Paula Patton ('Swing Vote' and 'Deja Vu') for the sake of their
two kids. So he takes up a job at a destroyed fashion store as a night
watchmen. Not too long after beginning the job he starts to encounter
violent and frightening things. This does bring about some decent jolts and
Aja showcasing some good use of CGI, lightening and practical effects to get
some good money shots.

All that's well and good, but then things start to slide a bit. The thing I
always remember about up and coming horror filmmakers is that they always
have an idle. Neil Marshall seems to favor John Carpenter and Alexandre Aja
definitly favors Wes Craven; BIG TIME. Now I like Craven and all, but I've
never viewed him as the master of horror as so many push him up to be.
There's a select few of his films I found great and also a lot that really, really
sucked. For "Mirrors" however Aja seemed to invoke a bit of more 90's
B-movie Craven (ala "The People Under the Stairs" and "The Serpent and the
Rainbow") types of stuff and mix it with the atmosphere of a modern survival
horror, mystery video game like 'Silent Hill', 'Fatal Frame' or 'Siren'.

In terms of flow and aesthetics that works fine. Visually and tension wise it's
even better, but plot wise that means things are gonna get wacky,
predictable and cheesy. And they do. I really like Paula Patton, but for the
core majority of this film she's simply not believing Ben and then going about
looking good in wet, low cut shirts. Not a complaint, just an opinion.
Sutherland is a real B-movie actor if I ever saw one. He's not bad, but at the
same time he doesn't hit the notes the right ways where they sound
completely dead on. His freak out scenes nice and mildly convincing, but for
the most part he's just a nice guy fighting to save something. And all of this
is just because the wackiness of the plot gets them into it. It's over the top
by the ending of act 2, and then takes a break until mid way through the
finale when the craziness heats up again.

With that said it's not complete crap either. It's a very BIG B-movie plot. It
doesn't feel like the dozens of other Asian horror thriller remakes. This isn't
"Shutter" or "One Missed Cal", it's better than all that. Aja's an intelligent guy
when it comes to horror which is why no matter how many flaws I find with
his stuff, I keep getting interested when I see his name pop up. I think he's
on the edge of it...and he's working to it, but it's still pretty rough. The
production value is a big plus here as is Aja's violent eye (which is definitly
toned down from 'The Hills Have Eyes') which is still razor sharp and creates
some damn fine scenes of death. This is a supernatural film, but it's a
B-supernatural film so don't go in looking for "The Sixth Sense". This baby
damn sure ain't perfect and at times isn't pretty. That third act is out there
and not to mention the cryptic 'Twlight Zone'-ish ending, but there's more
then enough for me to pass this one. It's fun, disposable horror.

Overall: 7/10
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