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Horror film by Alexandre Aja (remake of a Korean Horror film)

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This mirror is a flawed reflection of other past generic horror films. It has way too many cracks.

  • Feb 19, 2011
Rating:
-2
*1/2 out of ****



After hearing of how horrible Alexandre Aja's "Mirrors" apparently was, I just had to see the thing for myself. I mean, what can I say? Mirror demons who feed on your life as you know it….well, that's just an awesome concept right there. But it's the execution that matters, and Alexandre Aja worried me with that. And in the end, my worries were reality. Aja essentially DID ruin an awesome concept by making a never-boring yet poorly made horror flick. It does little to separate itself from other K-Horror remakes; focusing more on bloody imagery to scare only the most casual of audiences. It's not too scary…hell, it's not really scary at all. It focuses on cheap-ass gore and wanabee-disturbing kill scenes to create a "horror film". It's neither scary nor particularly thrilling. However, it's not the complete piece of bat-shite that people say it is. It's crappy, but not THAT crappy. There's some good to be found in this stylishly bloody Korean Horror remake. First off, it's got Kiefer Sutherland, who may not be that good in this film, but his presence counts for something. Second, I found the soundtrack to be fascinating. Also, it's sometimes so lame that it's funny. There was one infamous scene, including a blonde woman ripping off her lower jaw, which I found to be sort of enjoyable. It was enjoyable because it was so lame, so stupid, and so obviously fake. If it was to be taken seriously, then it failed to grab my attention in the right way. It only grabbed my attention out of its own stupidity. It's not just that particular scene, but any sequence involving gore is pretty much pretentious enough to be laughable. Therefore, it's kind of fun to watch it for what it's not. Other than that, it's another failed attempt at horror. Alexandre Aja attempts to do the same thing to mirrors that Hitchock did to showers, but no such luck. There's absolutely no paranoia involved, and next time I look into the mirror, I'll imagine my grisly death to be a bloody one, but with better CGI. At least it's not happening to me, since fiction is fiction. And "Mirrors" is indeed fiction. To its credit, "Mirrors" contains one of the worst twist endings of all time. We all need something to be proud of, right?

"Mirrors" begins without explanation. It's ready to go way before we are, and that's why it's virtually no good. The film opens with a sequence involving a security guard running down a hallway into a locker room, which suddenly prevents his escape. Then several mirrors show up, one of them being quite large. The man walks over to this particular mirror and begins to speak to it. As if it is angered, the mirror begins to crack on its own. The man seems to worship the mirror, and attempts to clean it. In this attempt, a part of the mirror breaks. The man goes to pick it up, although his reflection suddenly has different plans. His reflection takes the shard and slits the man's neck with it, causing the real man to die as well as his reflection. This gives the film a premise to work around, which is one involving mirror-dwelling demons. This leads to a character, whom is Ben Carson. He is a man who gets a job as a night watchman at a former mental hospital. The owner warns him that there was a man (presumably the guy from the beginning) who was consistently cleaning the mirrors in "honor" of them. He had an obsession for them. This is, of course, meant to mean nothing whatsoever. So we think. Soon, Carson begins to see things. His reflection isn't doing what he's doing, and there are fingerprints on the mirror that he cannot clean off. There may be someone on the other side of the mirror; on the other side of reality (aka. The Afterlife). Ben starts to see images in the mirrors just about everywhere he goes, and suddenly this happens to others as well. Soon, whatever lies on the other side of reality is out to kill all whom he loves, and in incredibly creative ways. Therefore, each and every one will most likely die in a very cool fashion. But, they're still dying all the same. And now, it's up to Sutherland's character (the hero) to find out what these mirrors want in order to secure the lives of his loved ones. And…that's it. That's the story right there. Oh, wait. I forgot something. There's a sort of twist ending, which doesn't really require a whole lot of thinking. It's too obvious to be a good one, and it's not one that you really want to see coming. So yeah, this is pretty much a typical faux horror tale which will not be passed down for generations and is by all means forgettable. It's bearable, but it's cheesy as hell.

Kiefer Sutherland has been in solid roles before, and this is not one of them. Sorry Sutherland, I love you. But here, you're just not good. But nor is Sutherland horrible. He simply seems a bit mis-cast, and can't really elicit the emotion of fear, at least not correctly. His dialogue feels uncomfortable and forced, although at the same time it's not as bad as Mark Wahlberg's dialogue in "The Happening". Still, it's disposable. Paula Patton is absolutely awful (which is kind of a surprise, since she was pretty good in "Precious"). The children of Sutherland's character are nothing special, and the little boy attempts to be a sort of "Haley Joel-Osment". No such luck there, since he's not nearly as creepy as the talented young Haley Joel-Osment. The supporting cast is rather poor and the dialogue isn't horrific, but it feels out of place. None the less, it feels a little too stupid for its own good.

"Mirrors" is what I find to be a sort of guilty pleasure. I know it's bad. I know it's potentially horrifically bad. But you know what, sometimes it's so bad that it's good. "Mirrors" is so frequently cheesy and consistently fails to frighten the audience to the point where it's laughable. Aja tries to create a sort of hallucinogenic, demonic world out of Ben's dark visions, although he essentially fails. Gore isn't scary, especially when it's obviously the fakest thing about the movie. I mean, really. Were the throat slitting scene, the jaw ripping vignette, and the potential drowning sequence really supposed to be frightening? I mean, really. They're funny if they're anything at all. The jaw ripping scene, in particular, was pretty hilarious. A woman's demonic reflection ripping off her bottom jaw in the fakest way possible….well, that wins an award for "Worst Death Scene" as well as "Most Unintentionally Funny Kill Scene to be in a Horror Film". That would count for 2008 and 2008 only, since we all know that there's even funnier stuff out there than this. There's also a handful of "thrills", which do anything but give the audience a nice thrill/chill. It's all pretentious, and for its own good, this film should know it. The film sports a decent visual style with mediocre cinematography and a decent presentation. The blood looks awful, and the demon itself is one ugly yet uninspired piece of work. The music on the other hand is actually wonderful. The film was scored by Javier Navarrete, who also scored my favorite film of all time, "Pan's Labyrinth". It's a wonder why he decided to score a film as potentially bad as this, but I'm glad he did. At least it gives me one less thing to complain about.

Is "Mirrors" a guilty pleasure, a pretentious mess, or a classic in the making? I'd say the first two. "Mirrors" is stupid, and also sort of fun to watch because of its own stupidity. As a film, it has a premise which the film itself cannot support. It's heavily lacking in scares as well as thrills. And sadly, nothing can make up for a consistently lame excuse for a plot which dons an even worse ending. The acting is so-so and the film's artsy qualities also fall flat. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can save this film from being the cheesy-ass piece of crap that it is, but it's still kind of fun to watch when you're bored. I mean, the kill scenes are almost too cheap. Therefore, it's KIND of fun, but at the same time REALLY silly. Aja has failed me, although I'm open to liking him if he ever makes something worthy of my attention. For now, he has yet to do so. "Mirrors" is in no way a good film, but it's better than it should be. And that counts for at least something, so I'd think. However, there's no denying that it's still forgettable and bleak. It's a good concept gone to waste due to perfectly ignorant direction, bad writing, and mis-use of most of its potentially good qualities (Kiefer Sutherland). Why, the only thing that REALLY just doesn't go to waste is the score, which is wonderful. Otherwise, "Mirrors" is a horror film without the horror; a thriller without the thrills. And for some reason, it knows it is all of those things, and yet it keeps a smirk on its face throughout.

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February 23, 2011
This film was just average to me, not horrible but not great
February 25, 2011
It was definitely watchable. It was somewhat of a guilty pleasure in spite of its nigh awfulness. Some of the death scenes were pretty unintentionally funny.
 
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More Mirrors reviews
review by . July 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
WATCH YOUR REFLECTION
      MIRRORS      I would not say that this is the best horror movie I have ever seen or that this is one of the best horror movies to come out nowadays, but I will say that it is one of the best to be released theatrically these days. I have read a lot of things about this movie ranging from classic to horrible and I have to say that I find this film to be some where in the middle. This was in no part a bad movie in fact it is a really fun watch for those …
review by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What Pompted You to write a Review?   A survey     How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?   This movie I thought was very well directed with good acting.  I was not expecting it to be as good as it was.  It was actually scary and had a good story line to it.     Were You ENTERTAINED?   I was very entertained while watching this movie.  It had me sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time!     Did It Fulfill …
review by . January 14, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Bathtub scene
Produced by Korean filmmaker Eun Young-Kim and directed by Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension), "MIRRORS" isn't exactly an official remake of the South Korean horror film "Into the Mirror" (aka. Geoul Sakeuro, 2003, directed by Sung-Ho Kim) but it does have pretty strong similarities (most specially the opening credits) since it is based on the Asian horror film. The "Americanization" of Asian Horror films are usually a miss more than a hit--with Aja at the helm as director, Eastern subtlety, slow suggestive, …
review by . August 18, 2009
I actually really like horror but this is basically as unpleasant as it gets. It pulls many CGi shock effects (rather than the more classic camera moves). But fundamentally this is a dark film that strives to make the audience miserable - and succeeds. Even writing a review seems to justify this film, which I detest doing.       Apart from the fact that the plot is flimsy, the characters are 1-dimensional, and there are no redeeming elements, the antigonist is …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Mirrors is a 2008 horror film directed by Alexandre Aja, and stars Kiefer Sutherland. The film was first titled Into the Mirror, but the name was later changed to Mirrors.[citation needed] Filming began on May 1, 2007, and it was released in American theaters on August 15, 2008.
The film was originally scripted as a remake of the 2003 South Korean horror film Into the Mirror which is rated PG. However, once Aja was brought on board and read the script, he was dissatisfied with the particulars of the original film's story. He decided to retain the original film's basic idea involving mirrors, and to incorporate a few of its scenes, but otherwise crafted a new story and script for his version of the movie.[1] Mirrors is the first Aja film to achieve an R rating without the need for scenes to be cut.
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