Friday, January 28, 2011

Review: Mirrors (2008)

Over the last 6 or 7 months, I’ve done a lot of these reviews. You know, the kind where I point out why these bad movies are bad, ignoring the fact that I could probably be doing a million better things. So for this one, I’m not going to get angry at the film. It’s not worth my time or energy. I’m going to review this film, but I’m definitely not going to let out my rage on it. It’s unhealthy, and would only lead to more anger at other things in my life. In fact, if I get angry at all at this film, you have every right to call me out on it and strip me of my right to review anything else, because God knows the gimmick’s getting old. Real old. So. With that said, what is the movie I’m looking at today, anyway?

Director: Alexandre Aja
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton

Oh, snap.

Well, this is Mirrors, everybody. This movie was directed by Alexandre Aja, who once directed such brutal, gory films as High Tension, but has of late become associated with slop like P2 and this movie, which I have to admit is noticeably worse. I mean, how sad is that? To go from such a violent, intense and even downright horrific film to a half-assed, dime-a-dozen supernatural thriller like this one is just pathetic beyond belief. But it’s real, and unfortunately we’re going to take a look at it today.

The movie begins with a guy running away from the producers of the movie, I assume, screaming for them not to kill him. I guess he must have tried to leave without their permission. Geez, film productions are getting really hardcore these days! Anyway, something funny happens with the mirror he runs into that causes the guy to slit his own throat with a broken piece of the mirror. They should have gotten better insurance on those things.

Then we’re introduced to our one-dimensional caricature of a main character, played unconvincingly by Kiefer Sutherland. Who could probably be doing way better things with his time, like making more 24 episodes. Apparently he’s playing an ex-cop with alcohol issues who got kicked out of his own house by his wife. Give a round of applause for the guy with the most pathetic life, guys! And now he’s working as a night security guard at a burnt down department store? Check off another on the List of Ways to Tell Your Life Sucks.

The mirror don't lie.

So he gets walked through the whole place with this old guy telling him everything that the producers couldn’t fit on the back of the DVD box. Department store burnt down, tons of people died, everyone’s 20% off coupons are no longer valid there, yadda yadda yadda. Skip it. Sutherland stops by his wife’s place and they get into a fight, followed by a spontaneous make out session up against the closed door. Yeah. Because when you come to visit your wife who kicked you out of the house because you drank too much and possibly beat and/or abused her in some way, she ALWAYS makes out with you like it’s a crappy late-night sitcom.

Also, check out the acting range on Sutherland! He goes from a boring, standard Clint Eastwood impersonation that is common for main characters in these movies (without any of the charisma Eastwood had) to a dull shouting attempt at sounding ANGRY!!! Did I put enough exclamation points on there to emphasize all the ANGER he puts into his mindless screaming? No, seriously; those are his only two emotions throughout the entire film. I’m dead serious.

So Sutherland starts to patrol the, uh, vacated department store, and he sees some pretty freaky shit. Why are there dead, burning people in the mirrors but not there in real life? Why did Sutherland suddenly freak out and feel like he was covered in fire? Well, any normal, logical solution would suggest that he’s probably doing crack on the side, too. It makes sense with his character anyway. But we have a shoddily made and poorly written supernatural horror movie plot to shit out here! So instead it’s suggested that – get this – there’s something in the mirrors that is making people kill themselves when they look into them! He even finds that guy’s ID from the beginning of the movie conveniently lying on the floor where he’s patrolling.

"Hmm...if I look closely enough at this mirror, I can see my credibility vanishing quicker and quicker..."

This leads to some GREAT DETECTIVE WORK as he bravely marches into his wife’s workplace (she’s very conveniently a practicing doctor at a big hospital) and demands that she let him see the dead body of the guy from the movie’s intro, with the added threat of making her watch him try to act some more if she doesn’t. Fearing this horrible fate, she quickly opens up the freezer and lets Sutherland see the body, which comes to life in the metal reflection and scares him. He spazzes out and doesn’t really find out much new aside from a name, Esseker.

Oh, and would you BELIEVE me if I told you that his wife thinks he’s crazy? No? Okay. I don’t even have to say it then.

Sutherland proceeds to continue working at the broken down old store even though any sane person would have quit somewhere in between the first demented crack-dream and the second one. Meanwhile, he sees more nightmareish hallucinations at his sister’s apartment where he’s staying right now that look kind of like something Tim Burton would come up with when he’s pissed off at the world. When his sister shows some concern about his well being, he responds by screaming loudly at her. Because…that’s all he’s got.


His sister is fleshed out herself, though, as we see that she does, in fact, have boobs. You know, because they just have to show a nude/bathing scene of even the most under-developed characters before they kill them off. Speaking of killing them off, let’s take a spin on the Kill-O-Meter and see what it turns up. Hmm…what random, gruesome way can we kill this character even though not having her die really wouldn’t have much effect on the plot? How about having her rip her own jaw clean out of her face? That’ll do it! What a wonderfully pointless death.

I don't think your makeover is working out too well for you, honey.

I mean, I guess it’s a cool, gruesome horror movie death, but there’s no other death in the movie like it, so it just feels out of place. I am watching the uncut version though…which means that they did it just to get people incentive to buy the uncut version instead of the theater version. Still one of the better parts of the film, I guess. See, I can say nice things about these movies!

After that Sutherland is thrown into depression over his sister’s death, and becomes more convinced than ever that it was the mirrors behind it the whole time. Somehow he also finds out that shooting one of them does nothing, as the mirror kind of regenerates itself and shows no signs of damage. That’s…so stupid I don’t even know where to begin. How can you possibly be serious with that, movie? What, do the mirrors have built in combat reflexes? Are they made for military use? It’s just so ludicrous. But I’m not getting mad. I’m cool. Just downright chilled, friends.

Realizing that they can attack anyone, anywhere, Sutherland goes to his wife’s house and starts painting over all the mirrors. His wife comes home, calls him crazy, and he tries to show her that he’s right by shooting at the mirror with the gun in his pocket. Of course, it doesn’t work, so she just calls him crazy some more and he goes on his way. He finds out some important information about the backstory behind this whole thing – there’s a lot of shit about this twelve year old mental patient who was actually possessed by demons, but given treatment for schizophrenia involving a room full of mirrors. Which somehow made the mirrors possessed? And there was a fire, people died, but the little girl actually did not die, despite her medical record saying she did…it’s a huge mess, and even writing it all out is confusing the fuck out of me. It’s convoluted as hell. How does this add up to mirrors killing your family if you don’t bring them what they want, again? I think I lost track somewhere.

Oh, I forgot. The mental institution, after it burnt down, was turned into the department store that Sutherland currently works at! I do love those department stores that used to be mental institutions…there’s just something charming about them!

So the mother won’t believe any of Sutherland’s crazy rambling until one morning when she sees her son’s reflection not doing the same thing he is actually doing. Then all the sudden, bam! She believes every word of it. They paint over all the mirrors and close the blinds in the whole house, and then Sutherland goes off on a detective hunt to find Esseker, who he eventually finds living as a nun in a church. She’s such a good, pious Christian that she doesn’t help Sutherland at all even though he begs her and tells her his whole family is going to die otherwise.

Wait. Something doesn’t seem quite right there.

Meanwhile Sutherland’s family is running away from their own reflections in the house. Wow. That did sound retarded. I feel less intelligent even writing it.

AHH! Our reflections are TERRIFYING! God; worst horror movie plot since Darkness Falls.

And while THAT’S going on, Sutherland just says, fuck it, and points a gun at Esseker’s head, forcing her to come with him. I hope he plans to come back and do a confessional about this! They go back to the burnt down mental hospital-slash-department store and she tells him what to do. I have to admit that the special effects that follow are pretty good, as they show the mirrors in the building exploding and crumbling down to the floor in a pretty decent display. The family is safe, Sutherland won, and it’s over. Right. RIGHT?

No, we still have a big monster that comes out of nowhere for Sutherland to fight. This part makes me laugh because it’s just so telling of what this movie really is. They spend all this time building up suspense and making the film one of those slow-burners that takes a while to really kick up the scares, but then at the end they just throw in a big, ugly monster, as subtle as a dump truck driving through your window. It’s flat out ridiculous and getting angry at this would be a waste of my time.

So he kills the monster, but then realizes he’s inside the mirror somehow. What? Huh? Why? I don’t know. This movie sucks!

I mean this is just unbelievably lame. It’s lame on levels you didn’t even know existed beforehand. The writing is painful; the story is a mix of stupid, dull and confusing, and Kiefer Sutherland…just, really? Really, this is the performance you’re giving us? I’ve seen cardboard cutouts give less wooden performances! Shame on you for even directing this at all, Mr. Aja! Shame on you!

Okay, okay, sorry. Almost let my anger get the best of me there. But I think I’ve come out mostly unscathed. I might be on the path to a better, more fulfilling review career here. In fact, I think I can handle another movie just like I did here. I bet you anything I can get through another horrible movie without losing my temper at it. So, what’s next on my list, anyway?


None of these pictures are mine. They were all taken by other people and I take no credit for any of them.