Movie Review: Mirrors (2008) by Jason

By Jason

August 20, 2008 Movies Reviews No comments

The Essentials

Title: Mirrors (Official Site)
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Alexandre Aja, Grégory Levasseur, and Sung-ho Kim
Running Time: 1:50
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, disturbing images, language and brief nudity.

The Plot of Mirrors

It’s been nearly a year since volatile detective Ben Carson was suspended from the NYPD for fatally shooting another undercover officer, an accident that not only cost him his job, but fueled the alcoholism and anger that has alienated his wife and kids and left him crashing on his sister’s couch in Queens. Desperate to pull his life together, Carson takes a job as a night watchman at the burned-out ruins of the Mayflower department store, which was destroyed by a massive fire that devoured numerous innocent lives.

As Carson patrols the eerie, charred remains of the store, he begins to notice something sinister about the ornate mirrors that adorn the Mayflower walls. Reflected in the gigantic shimmering glass are horrific images that stun Carson. Beyond projecting gruesome images of the past, the mirrors appear to be manipulating reality as well. When Carson sees his own reflection being tortured, he suffers the physical effects of his fractured visions. His sympathetic but skeptical sister Angela dismisses these bizarre “nightmares” as a consequence of his stress and guilt over the accidental shooting, but Carson’s estranged wife Amy, a no-nonsense NYPD medical 2 examiner, is less forgiving. Her husband’s increasingly erratic behavior frightens her, pushing his family farther away–and, she fears, it’s putting their children in danger.

As Carson investigates the mysterious disappearance of a Mayflower security guard and its possible connection to his ghastly visions, he realizes that a malevolent, otherworldly force is using reflections as a gateway to terrorize him and his family. Carson must somehow uncover the truth behind the mirrors–and convince Amy to help him battle the greatest evil he has ever faced. Yahoo Movies

The Review of Mirrors

I’m not really a huge fan of horror films. Modern horror films are most often more concerned with one-upping one another in the gore factor than they are with actually telling any sort of compelling story. I would much rather have a horror film that scared me mentally than one that made me jump in the theater or grossed me out.

Having said that, I think Mirrors leans more towards the psychological than it does the slasher side of horror. There are indeed a couple of scenes in the film that are purely gruesome and hard to watch (and freely available for viewing on the internet), but the film doesn’t try to make itself into another Hostel or Saw which I found refreshing.

The scary part of Mirrors is, in fact, the mirrors. It’s the idea that when we look into a mirror there’s actually someone, or some thing, that is looking back at us. Add to that the idea that the thing in the mirror could actually make us do something to ourselves or could harm us in some way and you have a classic setup for psychological terror. And, while I don’t feel the film was completely successful in this regard, I do feel that it was sufficiently creepy to warrant a viewing by fans of horror.

I’m not going to lie. I watched this film mostly because of Kiefer Sutherland and I wasn’t disappointed. If you’re a fan of Jack Bauer and 24 this film could easily help tide you over until the new season starts. Sutherland seems to be coasting on Jack Bauer cruise control throughout much of the film which I found to be comforting, but I’m sure other critics found annoying. From the raspy whispering voice to the don’t-take-time-to-explain-what-I’m-doing take charge attitude, Sutherland conveys his Jack Bauer character at every turn (at one point he even yells at an old lady, “Don’t make me threaten you!”). I kept thinking they could have tweaked the script a little and made this the 24 movie they’ve been promising us forever. While he may not win any awards for originality, Sutherland is able to use his alter ego to move the story along and keep the audience engaged even when the story falters a bit.

The story itself, based on a Korean film, really wasn’t all that great. I thought it was interesting enough and better than we get in a lot of horror films, but it didn’t really reach that other level that would have made it great. However, I think the ending is really what sold everyone on this film and got it made in the first place. It’s a killer conclusion to the film and one I didn’t really see coming. Do yourself a favor and try not to find out what it is before you see it. It’s the little bit of something extra that made this horror film better than most.

Watch Mirrors If…

You enjoy Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer character and you like to watch horror films that try to scare you mentally more than gross you out – but you still like to be grossed out a little bit.

Rating: 6.5/10