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No Narcissism Here: Reflective horror story shatters itself to pieces 

With a promising beginning scene and dazzling credits, Mirrors looked like it was going to deliver. I was actually smiling and nodding to myself that

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  • Jack Bauer stars in the new action film
With a promising beginning scene and dazzling credits, Mirrors looked like it was going to deliver. I was actually smiling and nodding to myself that this was going to be the horror flick I'd been waiting for. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) an alcoholic cop on leave of absence for the accidental killing of his partner, living with his sister Angela (Amy Smart), separated from his wife Amy (Paula Patton) and kids, is somewhat unstable. To take his mind off his troubles, he takes a job as a night watchman at the Mayflower department store, a gigantic burned out but ornately columned building. The inside charred ruins manage to look pretty haunting with disfigured mannequins everywhere and a ton of mirrors. The history behind the store is textbook ghost story: a lot of innocent lives were lost in a fire. Maybe their spirits are trapped in the mirrors and want out.

The director (Alexandre Aja), who I HAD nothing but respect for, flounders badly here. His first two movies, Haute Tension and the re-dux of Hills Have Eyes were above par, showing extremely ground breaking vision, cool camera work, supreme editing and lots of mind-numbing gore. Mirrors seemed like it was going to take this path. Aja throws in R-rated risks, bloodletting like crazy, but then plays it safe reeling it in, like the stupid plot would hold its own. You'd think with gore, nudity and NYC you couldn't go wrong. Instead Aja falls back on tired old horror movie conventions: slow moving flashlights, investigating dark corners, looking into mirrors over and over and quick jump scare tactics.
Then there's Ben and Amy's domestic squabbling. WAY too much emphasis is spent on their idiotic relationship, dredging up dull dialogue, and hollow interactions. The acting throughout is atrocious. If I had a nickel for every time Sutherland goes "AHHH!" I could afford a gallon of gas. Smart's role is shrunken by her absurd dialogue. My only hope was Patton as a coroner who's constantly in cleavage exposing tops and slit mini skirts. But her delivery is poor and the dialogue disappoints. I think she says "Michael" no less than 27 times in a minute-make that two gallons of gas.

What could've been a nice psychological thriller turns into an out-of-control mess. With a perfect setup for a possible psycho going nuts (ex-cop alcoholic prone to rage and temper tantrums), the plot easily could turned dark, and interesting. But nope-they just spin the simplistic version of... that's right, demons in the mirrors. A mini-investigation plot trails off into stretch-your-belief-till-it-snaps mode, complete with a disappointing clue: ESSEKER. I immediately went into anagrams to crack the case thinking it would mean "Seekers"-but alas it's quickly established that it means...ummm... Esseker! This turns out to be the last name of a schizophrenic-turned-nun-in-hiding and the one who can possibly put an end to the madness/evil. Mirrors moves into One Missed Call territory but without the so-bad-it's funny aspect (possessed cell phones, mirrors, what's the difference?). So it's no surprise when the credits reveal that this movie's based on Into the Mirror, a Korean flick. Once again, even with a French director the U.S. version just sucks the life out of another Asian ghost story.

This might've been fun in an Italian horror movie kind of way because nonsensical stories, severely lame plots and wretched dialogue are their forte, but all for the sake of STYLE. What's most maddening here is the deadening of style. What's left is beyond ludicrous. This is A Night at the Museum meets Jeepers Creepers.

The first five minutes and the last 10 could be edited together for a nice compelling Tales from the Crypt short. This movie is so much filler that I got stuffed and needed a nap. It belongs at the bottom of some sewer hole to be buried forever. A truly forgettable experience, Mirrors shatters all hopes, and packs seven years of bad luck into 110 minutes.

Mirrors ★✩✩✩✩
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, Amy Smart. Director: Alexandre Aja


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