I decided to re-watch this film because I want to watch the sequel for the first time – even though it’s supposed to be total pants. I had fond memories of this movie as well, and couldn’t remember why I’d only ever watched it the once, at the cinema upon release.
I have a theory that all movies are always better when you see them in the cinema. Horror movies especially so because it makes them more atmospheric and as a result they’re more scary, When you see them in the dark, confined space of the cinema screen, surrounded by all the squeaks and screams and other associated horror sounds, the experience is bound to be more disturbing.
Add to that the fact that no film is ever as scary the second time around – yet I did still feel quite disappointed by my second viewing of Mirrors.
Kiefer Sutherland is in full 24 mode as he rushes to save his family from death by demonically possessed mirrors. The man certainly couldn’t be accused of not giving it his all as he sobs, yells, screams and blasts his way around the screen for the 90 odd minute runtime. The makers of this film want to emphasise that Kiefer really loves his family. No I mean he really loves them. And as the producers hammer home this point, ridiculous high-points include the abduction of a nun at gunpoint and Kiefer screaming “who do the hell do you think you are? They’re only kids!” as though this is supposed to make any sense at all.
Jack Bower Ben Carson has recently been forced to retire from the police force because he shot some guy and he’s suffering some real issues over this. He also appears to have become an alcoholic at some point, but this is never really developed because all that matters is that KIEFER LOVES HIS FAMILY! The family – that we are supposed to care oh-so-much about – consists of daughter Daisy, Michael-The-Wonder-Brat and Kiefer’s wife Amy (hence forth known only as Shrieking-Boobs).
While Shrieking-Boobs and the wonder-brats continue to live in their lovely family home Kiefer is forced to move into his sister’s apartment and get a job as a lowly security-guard so that he can continue to support His Beloved Family. Shrieking-Boobs appears to think that the best way to deal with her husband’s breakdown is to act like a bitch, telling him how hard life is for her and what a total douche-bag he’s being by acting so crazy all the time. This movie consistently takes a very sensitive approach to mental-illness: Anna Esseker was locked up in a basement cage when her screams got too much for her mother. The inconsiderate little bitch! And morgue attendants think it’s appropriate to crack jokes over the corpse of a supposed depressive who slit his own throat with a piece of mirror glass. Nice to see the Victorian attitude to mentalists is alive and well in Hollywood!
Anyway, once Ben-the-Mentalist starts working as a security guard at a local mall which was gutted by fire, weird things begin to happen surrounding mirrors (not that you’d ever have guessed from the title of the film or anything). To be fair, the Mayfair Mall does look very creepy and their are some brilliant early scares. I particularly liked the screaming woman in the upstairs changing cubicle. Other top scary moments include the burnt woman in the boy’s mirror, the final sequence in the mirror room and the painfully grizzly death of the film’s most sympathetic character – Keifer’s sister.
But snazzy visuals and decent scares are not enough to make a good film. And there are a lot of things about this film that suck, such as: the crappy dialogue; the majority of the characters; the fact that the ending makes no sense at all and a total lack of explanatory mythos or back-story (aside from Anna Esseker’s story – but did that really make any sense at all? Did it really contribute anything to our understanding of this alternate world in the mirror?).
I kind of like Mirrors and that actually annoys me. I want this film to be better than it is. You’re likely to enjoy it the first time you see it, but on repeated viewing you will begin to spot the massive holes in plot and characterisation. And the characters will irritate you.