Mirrors


Dir: Alexandre Aja
Star: Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, Amy Smart, Mary Beth Peil

Poor Jack Bau..er, Kiefer Sutherland. After seven seasons in one of the top-rated shows on TV in 24, he has now become hopelessly stereotyped. No matter what he does, no matter the character he plays, he will always be Jack Bauer - and we will always feel obliged to take a drink whenever he yells "Dammit!". Especially when, as here, he plays Ben Sucer, a troubled ex-cop with a murky past which involves shooting people: really, it's just asking for a running stream of comments, and we were happy to oblige. Ben gets a job as a night watchman at a burnt-out department store, only to find the mirrors in the building are apparently haunted, and he sees things in them that aren't present in the real world. When those things threaten his family, including his estranged wife (Patton) and sister (Smart), Ben has to find out the cause before death ensues. And you can't very well tie up a ghost and torture information out of it as usual.

A remake of the Korean film Into the Mirror, it's rather looser than most Western versions of Eastern horror, with the most obvious change being that in the original, the department store had re-opened after the fire, whereas here, it's still deserted. While that adds a certain tension, it also takes the setting out of the realm of the everyday, and this may explain the addition of the familial subplot. That doesn't add much, except perhaps for one really excellent kill, where you had to admire the gruesome imagination, even if the execution was imperfect. However, the main problem is the script possesses little or no internal logic: especially at the end, things happen for no reason, beyond the plot needing them. While there is an undeniably creepiness involved in some scenes, and a little pathos in Ben's increasingly-frantic efforts to save his family, I got more entertainment out of our 24 snark than the movie as a whole.

C
[August 2009]


Kiefer Sutherland is a pain in the glass
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