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2 reviews, 20 user ratings

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Mirrors (2008)
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by Peter Sobczynski

"110 Minutes Of Bad Luck And Worse Filmmaking"
1 stars

Even though he has only made three feature films to date, French-born filmmaker Alexandre Aja has already carved (and hacked and gouged) out a position for himself as arguably the hackiest genre director of our time who is still inexplicably receiving gainful employment opportunities. I realize that this is a mighty bold stand to take, especially when you consider that such universally reviled auteurs as Uwe Boll, Paul Anderson and Rob Cohen are still plugging away at their careers but I have become increasingly convinced that Aja’s craptaculars can trump even their schlockiest accomplishments. His first film, 2003’s “Haute Tension,” was a slick, stupid and repellent psycho-killer thriller, essentially a straight-faced version of one of the funnier throwaway jokes from “Adaptation,” that started out being pointless and gruesome, eventually became pointless and really gruesome and concluded with one of the most ludicrous finales in the annals of world cinema. His follow-up, a 2006 remake of Wes Craven’s exploitation favorite “The Hills Have Eyes,” was a hateful little exercise in squalid sadism that somehow managed to make the deeply unpleasant original film, a work that wasn’t exactly suffused with warmth and the milk of human kindness, seem nearly palatable by comparison. With his new film, “Mirrors,” he has tried to change things up a bit by giving us a supernatural thriller that, although officially based on a 2003 Korean film, desperately tries to ape the works of M. Might Shyamalan, although with marked increases in the gore and sadism columns. Alas, the only thing that this film has in common with Shyamalan and his recent output is that it is a boring, incoherent and often laughable exercise in suspense-free suspense and the only thing remotely terrifying about it is Aja’s apparent delusion that it is actually some kind of horror masterpiece instead of the disjointed mess that it actually is.

Kiefer Sutherland stars as Ben Carson, a former New York City cop whose life could easily be described as somewhat troubled--he has been suspended from the force after accidentally shooting another cop while on a case, he has a drinking problem and he is estranged from wife Amy (Paula Patton) and their two adorable kids. In an attempt to rebuild his life, Ben takes a job as the night watchman for the burned-out hulk of an ornate department store that went up in flames five years earlier. While making his rounds of the building, which was presumably designed by the famous architect Ivo Shandor on one of his off days, begins noticing strange things involving the store’s ornate mirrors. It turns out, of course, that the mirrors are even more terrifying than the skinny ones at Barney’s and before too long, Ben is having hideous hallucinations and people that he loves begin to get dispatched in hideously gruesome ways. As he investigates, Ben uncovers horrible secrets involving the mental hospital that used to operate out of the building before it was shut down after a grisly tragedy, the schizophrenic girl who was at the center of that tragedy and a nun (Mary Beth Peil) who might be able to help him piece everything together. At the same time, however, it appears that whatever is lurking in the mirrors, which has now spread to every reflective surface that Ben comes into contact with, has begun to take over Ben’s son and is using him in order to break free into the real world and wreak even more vengeance.

There is a germ of a good idea buried somewhere in “Mirrors,” especially in some of the early scenes when we aren’t quite sure if Ben is actually being haunted by supernatural elements or if he is merely cracking under the pressure and guilt of killing a man and losing both his job and his family, but it quickly becomes evident that Aja and regular co-writer Gregory Levasseur have absolutely no interest in pursuing it in any way. Instead, he seems more interested in making sure that every scene contains a couple of reflective surfaces, partly to illustrate the number of places where that Ben can be attacked and partly to show off the fact that he and cinematographer Maxime Alexandre have figure out how to shoot scenes using mirrored surfaces without inadvertently capturing the reflections of the crew as well. Perhaps realizing that this would not exactly capture the attention of less-discriminating gorehounds willing to make the trek to see the film this weekend based on his previous efforts, they occasionally drop this to toss in a few unnecessary bits of graphic bloodletting (the most pointless involves Amy Smart, who is trucked in for a couple of scenes and is then rewarded for her efforts with one of the least dignified death scenes to come along in a long time)in order to keep people awake even though it flies in the face of the suspenseful vibe that he otherwise tries to cultivate. Then, no doubt realizing that they were running out of time and hadn’t actually come to any point, Aja and Levasseur start throwing lots of junk at the screen in the hopes that some of it will distract viewers long enough to prevent them from realizing that they have utterly failed to come up with any sort of explanation for what we have been seeing--towards the end, they get so desperate that they actually have Ben rassling a giant flaming nun (and no, that is not a euphemism) as a way of trying to distract us from their second-rate storytelling abilities.

Kiefer Sutherland tries--boy does he try--but even he doesn’t quite have the amount of gravitas necessary to pull off a series of scenes in which he has angry conversation with a giant mirror. However, his presence does add a presumably unintended comedic level to the proceedings in the various ways in which the film seems to be aping “24”--he spends a lot of his time ordering people to do stuff for him over his cell phone, he says “Dammit!” a lot and his family members all appear to be mouth-breathing idiots who deserve every bit of trouble that they find themselves in. Other than him, no one else involved with “Mirrors” seems to have really tried to make a good movie after all (even the CGI effects are fairly shoddy) and as a result, the only truly memorable elements are the unintentionally hilarious ones. (My favorite comes at the very end--while I won’t go into details, I will mention that it immediately put me in the mind of one of the funniest jokes from one of the funniest films I have ever seen, the immortal “Top Secret.” ) This is junk of the lowest order, the kind of film that seems to have been deliberately designed to play in empty theaters during the dog days of summer, and while watching it won’t necessarily lead to seven years of bad luck, it does make for a fairly aggravating 110 minutes.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17348&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/15/08 05:07:25
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User Comments

10/27/10 Ryan J. Marshall Poorly, although at times intentionally funny; "Mirrors" may be decent for a couple laughs. 2 stars
1/13/10 lee good film , keptme on edge of my seat 4 stars
1/03/10 jan laclede Incomprehensible 1 stars
8/12/09 mr.mike Constantly threatens to go into unintentional humor but does'nt .Whew! 4 stars
8/10/09 Jerome C. commmentors # 4 and below suck! this movie is great!!! 5 stars
5/03/09 Aaron I really enjoyed this. The revelation is a bit meh, but otherwise I loved it. 4 stars
4/02/09 Raul Valdez Jr its a horror movie thats actually HORROR gory, sick and bloody 4 stars
2/01/09 somG It just needed a different treatment 4 stars
1/31/09 FrankNFurter Probably the most boring film of all time...and I've seen The Efficiency Expert! 1 stars
11/08/08 Meredith Harshaw SLOW start, suspenseful middle, unsatisfying ambiguous ending. 2 stars
10/31/08 tiffany pettey it was okay: i have seen worse horror movies 3 stars
9/16/08 Gulsah Selin Senkal sucks!! 2 stars
8/30/08 Total Crap Sucked hard ASS! What a damn waste. 1 stars
8/24/08 Max Walked out on it. Don't waste your money. 1 stars
8/18/08 Will Jack Bauer fights a Deadite. 2 stars
8/16/08 George Barksdale I liked the special effects, but not the movie as a whole 2 stars
8/16/08 Dani O. Aja: It's not 1995, and you were not directing the new Smashing Pumpkins video. 'K? 2 stars
8/15/08 Russ While I like Keifer Sutherland that is hardly enough of a reason to see this movie. 2 stars
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  15-Aug-2008 (R)
  DVD: 13-Jan-2009


  DVD: 13-Jan-2009

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