Seven years of bad horror films.

Released in 2008, certified UK-15. Reviewed on 30 Oct 2008 by Scott Morris
Mirrors image

I believe by this stage we've reached the point where I can simply say "this is a horror film" and have you fill in the rest of the review yourself, using whatever expletives you can muster to express your disapproval. This time round we find Jack Bauer attempting to waterboard confessions out of demonic mirrors.

Well, okay, ex-cop turned night-watchman Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) is trying to get over some past troubles and estrangement from his wife and kids, before he gets attacked by haunted mirrors.

Yeah, haunted mirrors. Do I need to go on? After a short period of paranoia before he's sure he's not hallucinating things, he must investigate why the mirrors are haunting him before they rip the jaws off the rest of his family. The general setup may seem familiar to those who have seen The Ring, or every single Asian horror film made since the release of The Ring.

Mirrors just really is not good. It's well polished, slickly produced not good, but it's still not good. The effects aren't massively impressive, and nigh on all of the shock value of the film seems to be based on an effect that's only jaw dropping in the very literal sense of the term. The rest fall between mediocre and dreadful, and the final 'baddie' wouldn't have looked out of place in The Evil Dead. Or The Grateful Dead, come to think of it.

Mirrors image

Much as I'm fond of The Keef, there's about twenty minutes of him trying to be a different character here before he decides to just be Jack Bauer again, to the point that when he pulls a gun on a nun I'd entirely expected him to start interrogating her about the location of the nuclear bomb the President was strapped to, or whatever the current 24 crisis is. Not that that's necessarily bad, but it feels a little out of place. That's hardly the worst of this film's worries, though.

Much like sci-fi, every horror film gets one given concept for which disbelief gets willingly suspended. There's a video that kills people, for instance. Or there's mutants in them thar hills. That sort of thing. Here, it's that the mirrors in the building where several traumatic events and deaths occurred are haunted. Fine. Except it quickly starts bending that concept until it breaks. Soon every mirror is haunted. Then the water becomes haunted. Even, and I shit you not, the doorknobs become haunted.

I know this is hardly an exact science, but we need to have some consistency in the gimmicks to run with it. This keeps changing the rules, to the point where's it's just too much trouble to take it seriously any more. So, you don't, at which point the film might as well pack up and go home.

So, while admittedly The Keef is a engauging enough actor and the production values are high enough to stop this being entirely unwatchable, it's just not any good. I was about to type that this isn't much worse than the general standard of horror films we've seen lately, but this really says far more about the standard of horror films we've seen lately than the quality of this film.

Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 2/5 TippyMarks.

Alexandre Aja
Cast list:
Kiefer Sutherland (Ben Carson)
Paula Patton (Amy Carson)
Cameron Boyce (Michael Carson)
Erica Gluck (Daisy Carson)
Amy Smart (Angela Carson)
Mary Beth Peil (Anna Esseker)