STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
MSRP: $29.99
RUNNING TIME: 112 Minutes

  • Reflections: The Making of Mirrors
  • Behind the Mirror
  • Deleted/Alternate Scenes
  • A free punch in the face for buying this

The Pitch

Keifer gets trapped in mirrors and does battle with a demon possessed nun.

The Humans

Director Alexandre Aja brings us the following:

  • Keifer Sutherland as disgraced ex-cop Ben Carson
  • Amy Smart as his jaw-dropping sister Angela
  • Paula Patton as his estranged wife Amy
  • Jason Flemyng as his cop buddy Larry
  • Julian Glover as a crazy old farmer

The solitary figure wonders why he let Andrea Bocelli decorate the place.

The Nutshell

(Note: Thanks to Justin and Will for their help with the captions. They were bloody well hard.)

Sutherland is a cop who was forced to turn in his badge after his involvement in a fatal shooting involving another officer. Now disgraced, separated from his wife and kids and trying to kick substance addiction, he decides to take a night job as a security officer at a deserted and decaying department store. While doing his rounds one night, he begins hearing voices and seeing hand prints inside the vast multitudes of mirrors inhabiting the abandoned store. After a personal tragedy befalls him, he begins to suspect the mirrors have something to do with it, and he slowly begins the downward spiral into madness as he starts to unravel the true history of the store.

Those smudgy hand prints can mean only one thing:
That Keifer high-fived himself a bunch of times after perfecting his Rudolph impersonation.

The Lowdown

For all of the disdain I have for this movie, let me first say that I was initially excited to see this film when I first heard about it (and before seeing the trailer). Also, this has one of the better ideas for a horror movie than most of the other junk Hollywood constantly unleashes on us. The problem the film encounters is that, as is usual with a good story idea/bad film result, the film makers lost sight of what they were trying to accomplish. On the one hand it’s your average modern horror flick, complete with gore soaked, slashed up bodies, while on the other it attempts to be a more evolved psychological thriller, with dark mysteries to uncover.

Amy Smart preparing for her Robert Z’Dar audition.

There’s no reason why the film couldn’t have been both, it just seems as though they spent the bulk of their time concentrating on the psychological part, but when it came time to address the horror aspect they simply cut-and-pasted cliches left and right, offering nothing of real substance. There are a few genuinely creepy moments in the film, but where they should have been fleshed out more and expounded upon the tone switches to simple scare tactics, complete with annoying loud ‘bangs’ or silly musical cues that do nothing but piss you off. That’s the best way to tell when a film has no belief in the power of what they are presenting, when they punctuate what they want you to be scared by with loud noises. It’s the horror equivalent of canned laughter.

Christa McAuliffe responds when everyone who wants a cookie is asked to raise their hands.

When I first saw this in theaters I hated every aspect of it, including Sutherland and his fellow actors. But when I again watched it I came to realize that Sutherland, most notably, equipped himself better than I had remembered. It wasn’t he that was to blame for this failure, it was the shoddy storytelling and woeful script. The complete leap in logic this film takes at the end is a perfect example of this failure to execute a decent idea. All film long they have been harping about how deadly mirrors are, and that mirrors do not represent reality and blah blah blah. Then, at the end, the film makers got cocky and weren’t satisfied with having one great confrontation between Sutherland and a demon possessed nun in the bowels of the department store. Instead they decided to craft a concurrent conflict involving his family, intercut with his own penultimate battle. And this is where they got lost. Realizing they had painted themselves into a corner regarding the family, by earlier having them cover every mirror in their house with paint, they decided to simply make stuff up. They moved away from mirrors because it didn’t fit into their new story, and instead introduced the concept that EVERY reflective object can be used. And lest you, as the audience, had no clue as to what was going on, they had Keifer explain over the phone to his wife that the evil that was in the house could transport through any object of reflectivity. Not to mention LEAVE the department store altogether and haunt on over to the Carson house!

Bruce Cabot has some long-unanswered fan mail waiting for him, once he comes back to life.

So in this new story element water is now just as dangerous as mirrors, where this wasn’t the case earlier in the film. It’s a total creative cop out by doing this, especially when you’ve already asked your audience to accept one form of rules, to change them because you don’t know how to get your film out of a jam. It shows that just because some people work in the business, doesn’t mean they necessarily know what they’re doing.

Let me finish this by saying I am more disappointed in this movie than actually hate it. The fact that mirrors are already creepy enough as is, and to have a film based around demons trapped inside them and not be able to execute a remotely frightening picture is a shame. There is a documentary on this DVD about the history of mirrors that is actually creepier than the film itself! How is that possible?

The Package

Fox obviously paid attention to the just-under $40 million the film pulled in during its U.S. run, and didn’t put much into this DVD release. Sure they offer the unrated version, but that results in a whopping 2 minutes of added footage, and it’s all the grisly stuff (throat slashing, jaw ripping etc.). There are two documentaries: one being a boring ‘Making Of’ featurette that is not worth your time, while the other far more interesting, that being the use of mirrors throughout history and the mythology behind them. It’s the kind of thing you would find on the Discovery or History channel, which is a good thing. While it was commissioned for this DVD release it tends to stay away from the actual film and focuses more on the history aspect regarding them. It is the best thing on the disc, a very enjoyable documentary.

Finally there are 8 deleted/alternate scenes which is nothing more than filler, not worth bothering with. I wish there had been a commentary with director Aja, but I’ve a feeling he would have just stated how great he thought the movie was, so maybe the lack of any track isn’t a bad thing.

Overall, Mirrors is a deeply flawed attempt to blend the psychological thriller and gore genres together, but loses track fairly early on and never regains its composure. A waste of a decent idea, and a waste of your time. Don’t bother.

6.0 out of 10