Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
1

Movies Review

Mirrors

By
Mirrors
Released on Friday, Oct 10 2008

Director: Alexandre Aja
Screenwriters: Alexandre Aja
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Amy Smart, Paula Patton
Running time: 111 mins
Certificate: 15

If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? Jack Bauer from 24 of course! Sadly, he’s too busy seeking vengeance on striking writers, so instead it’s up to Kiefer Sutherland’s emotionally disturbed former cop to solve a sinister mystery behind the mirrors and save his family. The greatest mystery though, is how a very decent horror film has somehow been buried beneath an overlong, unfocused movie that veers between exciting tension and mind-numbing boredom.

In a plot that painfully rips off much of Poltergeist III, Mirrors follows the mental disintegration of recovering alcoholic Ben Carson (Sutherland) as he takes a job as a security guard patrolling a burnt out, disused department store called the Mayflower. The mirrors in the building hold a murderous entity that has driven many people to an early, blood-drenched grave. Ben’s family, with whom he desperately wants to reunite, face being torn apart unless he can find a person that the mirrors want him to.

Director Alexander Aja does a competent job with the material, combining impressive camerawork and editing to conjure up several sudden jolts throughout the film. This is reinforced by a superb score, which really heightens the shock impact of certain gruesome imagery.

Yet there’s an overriding feeling that we’ve seen it all before, particularly the very repetitive scenes of mirror images acting independently of the character standing in front of them. It’s also unsurprising to discover that the possessed Mayflower building was built above an old psychiatric hospital. It must have won a coin toss against a Red Indian burial ground.

Often tired content can be salvaged by its form, but Mirrors severely needs trimming by a good half an hour. As a result of this extra flab, tension and suspense are never maintained for too long as the film drifts awkwardly between a character study of Ben Carson and a bog standard shockfest. At least the climactic battle between good and evil, plus a nice late twist, rounds the movie off in style.

Sutherland turns in an admirable central performance, bearing Ben’s severely aggravated soul well, and carries the film to an extent. There are too many similarities with his 24 character Jack Bauer though, particularly Sutherland’s tendency to flit between hushed, whispery tones and SUDDEN SHOUTING. It’s as if he has two speed settings on his voice.

Ben’s barking of the phrase “damn it!” on several occasions is also too Bauer-esque, and momentarily takes us out of the fictional framework of Mirrors to ponder whether he’ll scream “Where’s the goddamn bomb!?” at any point during the film.

There’s much to commend about Mirrors, including some emotionally authentic domestic scenes and well engineered shocks, but it never comes together as a consistent and engaging whole. The excellent Kiefer Sutherland tries an admirable salvage job, but simply deserves better material.

> What do you think of the movie? Share your views

You May Like

More: Movies

Comments

Loading...