Here’s a horror film that’s bound to disappoint anyone after a top-notch script. Mirrors is clearly inferior to Aja’s previous outings, The Hills Have Eyes and Haute Tension (High Tension). Where those films flirted with cliché, they were also well written with some nice depth of character. Mirrors is just plain silly. This is a movie about evil reflections that do bad things to you, and features some wonderfully gratuitous gore. It’s like Final Destination except it seems to be totally serious, even if it features lines like ‘fire is the only thing can destroy mirrors, right?’ That’s not to say it isn’t entertaining. Seeing Kiefer Sutherland slowly going crazy whilst yelling at his own reflection is fully worth the price of admission. We all know that Kiefer can’t not be intense, and here he’s his usual self. The film would be much worse without him, mainly because he’s always determined to make each performance as real as possible, even if the plot is utter nonsense. Amy Smart has a horribly thankless supporting role. After this and Crank I really feel sorry for her, playing characters at the mercy of ruthless screenplays.
Mirrors is a bit of a special effects extravaganza, and from the outset this was probably one of its main flaws. Horror films that rely overly on CGI are never really that scary (this is why The Ring failed to impress the way the original Ring (Ringu) did). The effects here are pretty good, but everything’s a little too clean and shiny, which is weird after The Hills Have Eyes, which was a visually gritty and raw experience.
This film never really has as much fun with the premise as it could, excepting in the final moments, and by then it’s a little too late. Javier Navarette’s score is fun, in a kind of 80s horror flick sense, and this perhaps adds to the clunky tone of the film. Is it supposed to be funny, or scary? The gore is pretty horrific, but I never really felt scared.
This is the type of horror film that’s only going to work on those that aren’t familiar with the genre. Aja and Neil Marshall are my two favourite horror directors of recent years, but with this and Marshall’s Doomsday, they’ve really dropped the ball. Both films seem to suffer from an inflated budget, further reinforcing my theory that smaller budgets make better films.Rating: