Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mirrors

When it comes to new movies I generally take heed to the reviews, at least to a nice cross section of reviews like Rottentomatoes.com, but when it come to uppcoming horror films I rarely pay much attention. To be honest, the genre is probably this particular least respected that there is, if a horror film gets great reviews then that really says something, but if it doesn't that is kind of to be expected. It's a niche and it's not for everybody, including critics it seems.

Anyway, the last time I checked Rotten Tomatoes has Mirrors at 23% fresh which is, to be blunt, terrible. Regardless, I wanted to see it for myself because you never know, I mean The Happening got 19% so apparently I am the only person out there that thought it was great. I would see it again. Well, despite some memorable moments and a few jumps here and there, I don't think I am going to be seeing Mirrors again.



Here is why I am so disappointed with this movie, Alexandre Aja. Alexandre is an amazingly skillful upcoming French director, sometimes referred to a member of The Splat Pack along with Eli Roth, James Wan, Greg McLean and others. He directed both High Tension, a very artfully done and incredibly graphic French feminist horror film, and the resent Hills Have Eyes remake, which is literally one of the most visceral roller coasters of a movie I have seen in a long time, especially for a wide theatrical release. Mirrors is a disappointment for me, not because it's all that bad, but because Alexandre has previously shown that he is capable of doing things that are absolutely incredible.

Now here is the real shame, with all of the horrifying and well done scenes in this film, I think that it really had the potential to be a treat for horror fans. Yet what is stringing them all together, and sometimes getting slipped right into the middle of them, are silly little moments of kid's haunted house type "boo's". In one scene Keefer Sutherland's character looks into the mirror and starts to see himself catch on fire, then he rolls around on the floor yelling and flailing until poof, the fire's gone and it was only a trick in the mirror. Coming from the guy that did High Tension, scenes like that feel like, frankly, kids stuff. It actually makes me suspect that that is what Aja was trying to do, to make a more accessible, kiddie kind of horror flick for the studio, but if this is true then why are there scenes where SPOLIER ALERT Amy Smart tears her face off.

What kills it for me even more is that scenes like the fire one, among others in the film, lack the gritty, real world grounding that make Aja's other movies so scary.



To it's credit, there are some really awesome scenes in Mirrors and I genuinely felt moments of tension. Keefer Sutherland has been getting some flack from reviewers for basicially playing his part as if he is playing Jack Bauer from 24, but I thought that that was one of the best things about Mirrors. I get real tired of the heroes in horror films not taking the bull by the horns when there is obviously something weird going on, and Keefer really does the opposite of that which is refreshing to me. It also leads to a few genuinely funny moments towards the end.

At the end of the day Mirrors, was not that great, but not all that bad either. It just so happens, though, that Alexandre Aja is one of the greatest horror directors of our time and this fact, for me, made Mirror's pretty underwhelming. Talk about a double edged sword.

Of course, I did also just finish watching John McCain talk on MSNBC's Forum About Faith before we left for the theater, and by comparison not much is scarier than that.

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