Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reflections on Mirrors

I was on the fence about whether to go see the new horror movie Mirrors. Looking at the trailer, you couldn't help but think maybe the entire movie came about because someone said, "you know all those cool moments in horror movies where somebody sees something scary in a mirror, like in The Shining, and Poltergeist III, and The Omen? Well, how awesome would it be to have an entire movie of that?!"

Honestly, it didn't look like it would be very awesome. And yet, I think maybe the year-and-a-half 24 withdraw we've all been going through got me craving some fun Kiefer Sutherland action. Had I known ahead of time this was directed by the same man who brought us the unfathomably awful The Hills Have Eyes remake, I probably wouldn't have gone, but I only found that out later.

The movie started out pretty bad with some very ham-fisted exposition, and began to slowly degenerate from there. There were a few good things, like Kiefer's wild gravitas, a few cool death scenes, and the really well-done sets and set decoration. But for every good thing, there would be two terrible things. Crappy dialogue, irrational motivations, very few scares that weren't of the cheap, "make you jump" variety.

I was ready to write the thing off entirely, but then came the final reel. Don't get me wrong, the last 20 minutes were really just as hokey as what came before. It relied on cheap scares just as much as the rest.


It got very satisyingly dark. I hope I'm not spoiling vital specifics for anyone here, but suddenly we have our hero kidnapping a nun at gunpoint, a child asking why her mother tried to kill her, and creepy child phantoms running around with knives. Like I said, it wasn't like this was suddenly great material, but the tone was actually pretty cool.

And then there was the last scene itself. This I won't go into, should any of you decide to see the movie. I'll simply say the ending was the darkest element of all.

Did the final act save the movie? No, not hardly. It really was just too much suck overall for anything to have redeemed it. But if the whole movie had had that kind of tone? Well, that might just have done it, even as sub-par as it all was.

Ultimately, I'm not recommending the movie. But if you do ever sit down to watch it and find yourself thinking "man, this is stupid" after an hour or so in, hang in there. There is a small pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Okay, terrible metaphor there, mixing rainbows and horror films. So I'll cut to the chase: I rate Mirrors a C+.

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