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Mirrors An Awful Reflection on Horror

Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Aja and Gregory Levasseur from the 2003 screenplay Geoul Sokeuro by Sung-Ho Kim
Fox, 2008

I really despise movies like Mirrors.  There’s a formula to their suckiness, almost compulsively bad, taking everything that didn’t work in movies before and piling them into one flick.

First off, there’s lead character Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland).  He just got a job being a nightwatchman for a badly burned-down former department store.  His conflict, when he starts seeing crazy stuff in mirrors: he’s an ex-cop who accidentally shot an officer on an undercover assignment a year ago, and he’s been dealing with alcoholism since the incident.  He’s a mess.  So, of course no one is going to believe him, and scenes where unreliable people try to make sane people (including his wife, played by the gorgeous Paula Patton) believe “mirrors are making people do things to themselves they wouldn’t normally do.”  Hell, I don’t even believe him and I just saw the same shit go down.

Second off, the rules of the game.  The mirrors are killing people in this old department store because they need someone named “Esseker.”  And if the mirrors don’t get delivered Esseker, then the mirrors will hunt down your family and will kill them, then kill you.  This makes no sense at all.  The mirrors are offing everyone who could possibly find Esseker.  Everyone else is sane and doesn’t believe in murdering mirrors and will never hear of the name Esseker ever.  So their program is in serious need of coaching.  This is like a detective on a big case murdering all the witnesses because they can’t remember every little detail.

Third, the home base of the mirror killing spree…burned down department store.  It’s a Macguffin.  While this is all well and good for turning the audience around a bit and making them concerned that the mirrors are murdering because of something that went down at the department store, it clearly makes no sense in the overall when you later find out that where the real incidents of note occurred are in Pennsylvania in a psych ward.

Fourth, the mirrors, much like many anatagonists in Asian horror, and this one is based on a Korean film, can decide to kill or not kill depending on what is convenient for the story.  They have all this power, and they want to kill, but sometimes they like playing around because they’re such kidders.  I go over and lightly slap my mirror on the chin and say, “You really got me there, Flexy, you got me good.”

Fifth, the ultimate showdown.  Just before the ultimate showdown, you get the thing that many people nearly end up hating Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho for and that’s the unnecessary exposition.  Not only unnecessary, but just goofy and wrong.

Alexandre Aja occasionally throws a jolt in here and there, mainly due to the fact that Aja’s one strength is sound (I really disliked his other two films, High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes remake).  And I can’t really argue with his inclusion of an Amy Smart nude scene either, although it happens to be one of those scenes that I mentioned above that don’t make overall sense.  Besides, Road Trip is a much better movie to watch if you want to see Smart in that way.

Yeah, this has been an awful, disastrous summer for Fox..and they’ve still got probable bomb Babylon AD in which to look forward.


Comment from Sam Loomis
Time: August 14, 2008, 5:55 pm

So you have Jack Bauer screaming at mirrors; how can that not be awesome? Seriously, I have all these hopes and dreams that maybe this week a decent suspense filled horror yarn will come out, and you get to it first and crush all of my wants and needs. Just kidding; this looked god awful and it looks like there are no press screenings so I’m sure you’ve hit it right on the nose. Still, when you get down to dissing Aja (Which I am mostly in agreement with), you have to admit that first 45 minutes or so of “High Tension” was pretty damn good. Or maybe you don’t, but you should, and that is all I have to say on the matter. Good day, sir!

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