- Rated R
- Buy the Blu-ray
All photos © 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
s someone who isn’t a very big fan of horror, it may seem irrelevant to admit that Alexandre Aja is one of my favorite directors currently working in the genre. The French-born filmmaker has made some pretty memorable movies in the last few years, so it’s a bit disappointing that he’s chosen to follow up a remake (“The Hills Have Eyes”) with another remake. Based on the South Korean film “Into the Mirrors,” Aja’s latest movie may feature his visual flair, but it doesn’t contain nearly enough scares to work as a traditional horror flick. “Mirrors” is more like “The Sixth Sense” in that it favors suspense over violence, but the plot is littered with so many gaps in logic that it's impossible to enjoy.
"24" star Kiefer Sutherland is Ben Carson, a troubled ex-cop attempting to put the pieces of his shattered life back together after an accidental shooting of a fellow officer turned him into an alcoholic. It’s been months since his last drink, however, and while Ben waits to be reinstated by the force, he takes a job as a night security guard at a ritzy New York department store that was recently damaged in a fire. But when he begins to see images of burning people in the mirrors at the store, Ben is convinced that there’s some kind of supernatural evil haunting him. After a series of linked deaths confirm his suspicions, Ben races to uncover the secret behind the mirrors before his estranged wife (Paula Patton) and two kids (Cameron Boyle and Erica Gluck) become the spirit's latest victims.
For a movie that hinges entirely on the credibility of its premise, “Mirrors” sure takes a lot of liberties with the story. The first act does a pretty good job of setting up the world of the film, but by the time Sutherland’s character has entered full-on Jack Bauer mode (which consists of yelling and generally acting crazy, not to mention taking the odd nun hostage), Aja doesn’t seem to have completely worked out the mythology of his story. The movie changes the rules whenever it’s convenient (anything with a reflection is suddenly a mirror, people can now be pulled through said reflections, etc.), and as a result, it sacrifices any integrity it may still have left.
“Mirrors” is also one of the longest horror movies you’ll ever see. The 111-minute runtime actually moves pretty fast when you consider that the first half is dedicated almost exclusively to following Sutherland around the department store as he gets spooked, but there are definitely some cuts that could have been made to get to the meat of the story quicker. The biggest problem, however, is that it just isn’t scary. There’s one death scene that is more gruesome than anything in the entire “Saw” franchise, but it’s also one of only two death scenes in the entire film. And if the low body count wasn’t enough, the big finale (where Ben is forced to go toe-to-toe with a monster that looks like it came straight out of an “Evil Dead” movie) is so laughable that you won’t know if Aja meant it as an homage or if it just plays that way. It certainly feels like the latter, which isn’t surprising, since “Mirrors” is so terrible leading up to that moment that it only seems appropriate to end it on a similar note.
Single-Disc Unrated Blu-Ray Review:
Thanks to a surprisingly strong performance at the box office, the single-disc release of “Mirrors” has been rewarded with a solid collection of special features that, quite frankly, it doesn’t deserve. Nevertheless, fans will find plenty of great extras to enjoy like an extensive 49-minute making-of featurette (“Reflections”), as well as Fox's trademark BonusView feature, which includes audio commentary by co-writer/director Alexandre Aja and co-writer Grégory Levasseur, and a picture-in-picture video track with even more behind-the-scenes footage. Rounding out the set is an interesting look at the symbolism of mirrors in folklore and the real world (“Behind the Mirror”), an animated story sequence for Amy Smart’s, jaw-dropping death scene, and a handful of mostly useless deleted and alternate scenes.