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Alex Aja’s New Film MIRRORS Test Screens... And Our Spy Has Some Reflections On It For You!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I think Alex Aja is a very talented horror filmmaker. I’m not sure he’s really found the right project yet to fully showcase what he’s capable of, but he’s got chops, and there are moments in all of his work that really unnerve. So how’s his new one? Well, one spy has seen it, and he’s got his report for you today:

Last night I saw a test screening of Alex Aja’s new film, Mirrors. For those of you that don’t want the film spoiled for you, I’ll say this: It’s not very good. The problems with the film extend far beyond the unfinished special effects (this will be a CGI heavy movie when it’s finally completed), the choppy editing or the digital grain of the cinematography (I assume we were watching a digital print, as the movie still seems to be in the very early stages of post production). I suppose it’s also fair to mention that this is a remake of a Korean film of the same name. I didn’t know that when I walked into the theater last night, as I’d given up on Asian horror films a long time ago (The Host notwithstanding). I think that most of the problems I have with the structure of the story and the nature of the mystery both stem from an over familiarity with the clichés of this branch of the genre. If you can look past vengeful spirits offering unhelpful advice to someone whom they hope will help them solve the mystery of their past, only to turn on them in the end, then I suppose you’ll like this movie. Okay, here we go with the spoilers. Keifer Sutherland plays a burned-out, ex-NYPD detective with a drinking problem, a wife that wants to divorce him and a new job as a security guard in an old department store that burned down over 50 years ago. He shot a kid or something. That’s the characterization they’ve given Keifer to work with here. The lead in this film has the same amount of characterization as Reginald VelJohnson from the first Die Hard. Moving on. As you may have guessed, the burned out department store has a secret. The secret being that the mirrors are a portal to another world. The rules seem to be established fairly early on: if your demonic reflection slits its own throat, then your throat will also gush and you will die. And that’s fine, but the internal logic of the film is fucked. Because when we reach the end of the film, it’s clear that these mirror-demons are trapped on their side of the glass. They can travel from mirror to mirror, and they can wreak havoc if you’re staring at your own reflection, but they can’t get out. So when a character gets her face ripped in half by two hands that reach out of the mirror, I have to wonder what happened to the rules that seemed to be so clear from the start. But perhaps I’m nitpicking. Again, let’s move on… The real mystery of the mirrors is that, lo those 50-plus years ago, the department store used to be a mental hospital that developed—seriously now—advanced mirror-based therapy for patients thought to be suffering from split personality disorder and/or demonic possession. Keifer has to track down a woman named Anna Esseker (a name that I initially thought would mean something backwards, you know, on account of all the mirrors), who, as a child, underwent the treatment. It seems that Anna was genuinely possessed by a demon, and the only way to exorcise it from her was to strap her down in a mirrored room so that…actually, I’m still not totally clear on all of that. I guess it’s the same idea as one of the Freddy sequels, where “evil will see itself and IT WILL DIE!” So the demon is trapped in the mirrors of this department store, and this department store is a conduit for evil and since Keifer now works there, he’s responsible for solving this tedious mystery. Also, because Keifer is the Sarah Michelle Gellar of this film, the evil follows him wherever he goes, and in the case of his home, it lingers and haunts his loved ones. Whatever. Moving on. I guess all of this is forgivable if the end justifies the means, right? As long as the film frightens you, then I suppose it was worth the $10, right? And we’ve all got mirrors in the house, so this could do for reflective surfaces what The Ring did for TVs, right? Wrong. This is a feature length version of a cat jumping out of a closet, or more aptly, a guy waking up from a bad dream, going to the bathroom, looking at himself in the mirror, leaning down to wash his face, lifting his head back up to look at himself in the mirror and seeing SOMEONE BEHIND HIM! Ohwhataworld! In an attempt to give credit where it’s probably due, I will say that the production design team did an excellent job with the department store and that fans of Aja’s The Hills Have Eyes remake will be thrilled to know that the man’s mannequin fetish carries over into this film (please get this guy to remake the Andrew McCarthy classic). I’ll also say that the face-rip scene that I mentioned earlier (you know, the one that makes no sense at all) is gruesome, as is a lot of the film. This seems like an R-rated film, but I can see how with the right editing, they could trim this thing down to a PG-13 (there are a few “fucks,” but these seemed obligatory and placed in spots that would be easy to cut out if the studio wanted to chop the film up). In the end, I just didn’t vibe with this film at all. I don’t mind illogic, as long as the illogic is consistent with the world of the film (like Argento or Fulci’s supernatural stuff) and when I first heard about this film, I suppose that’s what I was expecting. I wanted Aja to step into Lynch territory and give me a little nightmare logic. Instead, I think I got the final nail in Aja’s creative coffin, because there is nothing in this film that differentiates it from all of the other Asian horror remakes that have come down the line in the last few years. This movie could have been great, and perhaps if they work some magic in the editing room then it still can be. As it stands now, this is just a silly waste of time. If you use this call me “Whatever_The Fuck_You_Want_Solo_85” P.S. Just thought of a logline: “As familiar as your own reflection.”
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