Friday, August 15, 2008
I've been a huge fan and supporter of Alexandre Aja ever since I picked up High Tension at a horror convention a few years back. Despite the ending, I really like that movie and was very excited to hear that he signed on to tackle the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. Well, he certaintly didn't dissapoint. I consider that film to be one of the best horror remakes of all time, if not the best. So you can imagine my excitement and anticipation for Aja's third film, Mirrors. I of course rushed to the theatre today to see it as early as possible. But did it live up to the hype?
Mirrors (which is a loose remake of the Korean film Into the Mirror) is about an ex-detective, Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland), who has been off the force for many years due to the undercover killing of a fellow officer. He has, as is typical in such a tale, taken to drinking and pill popping to help get over the traumatizing event. Kicked off the force, Carson resorts to taking a job as the security guard of a high end department store, Mayflower, which had been ravaged by a fire years before that resulted in the deaths of almost 40 people. Can you say haunted? Carson becomes the target of an evil force that seems to live inside the store's mirrors and soon discovers that he nor his family is safe. A lesser man would just simply quit the job, but Carson's detective background forces him to attempt to uncover the mystery and of course, save his family.
I know what you're thinking. Kiefer Sutherland playing a cop. That's way too much of a stretch, how could he possibly even pull that off? Yep, he's back to the same well that he has been to ten too many times. It seems Kiefer Sutherland is no longer Kiefer Sutherland. He is now Jack Bauer. Believe it or not, I am actually a fan of Sutherland's. Moreso the drunk driving Christmas tree tackling man then the actor, but I am a huge fan of 24. Mirrors basically comes off as a long winded episode of 24 wherein Bauer is not fighting terrorists, but plates of glass. Interesting? I think not. If you do wanna pay 10 bucks to see Kiefer yell "DAMMIT!" over and over while beating up inaminate objects, be my guest.
Well what about the gore? Mirrors is at least chock full of fun gore right? Not so much. There are a select few cool scenes of gore, but guess what! WE'VE ALREADY BEEN SHOWN THEM ALL A MONTH AGO! The throat slash, the Amy Smart jaw rip, we've seen it all! Why spoil such cool elements of the movie weeks before its release? The jaw rip in full is pretty fuckin' cool looking, I must admit. It's just a little too effects-y for me, if that makes any sense. Speaking of the effects, Mirrors is laden with every cgi ghost trick in the book. And it's far from impressive.
The biggest problem I had with the movie is that throughout the whole thing, I was so aware that I was watching a movie. Now of course, I was, so just what the hell am I talking about? Well, when you watch a good movie you are taken to a whole world that feels like reality. You believe what you are watching is real. You are not constantly being reminded that this is not reality, but a mere movie. You're not aware that you're watching the actor who just got arrested for a dwi, you're watching his character. Things like unneccessary exposition, poor cgi, and bad acting all contribute to this factor.
Mirrors is absolutely nothing new. It is effectively no better then any of the many American ghost film remakes we have seen come pouring out in the last couple years. In fact the only thing keeping this one on a higher level from films like Shutter and Pulse is the fact that gore is pretty top notch, thanks to the boys at KNB effects. In fact if it weren't for the jaw rip scene, i'd probably like this one no better then I liked those afformentioned crapfests.
Mirrors is silly, it's long, its chock full of jump scares, bad cgi, and bad Kiefer Sutherland acting. The film fucks with its own rules simply to attempt to scare you and provide a "cool" scene. For example ; the idea of the film is that when you're mirror image does something, such as kill itself, the same happens to you in real life. Well, there's more then a few scenes where Kiefer's mirrored image gets fucked up, but he remains perfectly fine. He seems to be immune from the mirrors. Also, maybe it's just me, but I never really cared anything about Sutherland's plight to save his annoying family. I was merely waiting for the next cool gore scene, which never came. Shame on you, Mr. Aja. To me, a good director making a bad film makes that film infinetly worse. The dissapointment and anger you feel over the fact that you know the director is capable of much better makes you hate the movie that much more. Rob Zombie's Halloween, anyone? Mirrors may be the only horror film released this summer, but it's a far cry from an event, in any stretch of the word.
If you haven't yet seen the first 3 minutes of the film, which I posted a few posts back, check it out :
Also, check out this featurette regarding the Amy Smart jaw rip scene:
Watch those two clips and you'll see all you need to see. You're welcome. I just saved you ten bucks.