Ben Carson is an ex-cop, estranged from his family, who is hired to watch the dilapidated cavernous Mayflower Department Store, that was set ablaze several years previously. He is trying to turn his life around and is living with his younger sister Angela (Smart) whilst overcoming his alcoholism. On the first night he observes that the mirrors are unnaturally clean and is told that the previous night watchman had an obsession with cleaning the mirrors.
Director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) uses the abandoned building’s shadows, dark corners, and creepy reflections to great effect. Add to that the typical scary music expected to set your heart beating that little bit faster and of course throw in some gore and you have the makings of a great horror film – right? Well…sort of. This is yet another Korean horror remake, this time of Kim Sung-Ho’s Into The Mirror (2003).
Despite effectively scaring you (or at least me!) and a great turn from Sutherland as the troubled Ben Carson, who begins to doubt his sanity, at nearly 2 hours it drags on. If it had been shorter and less down time, this probably would have been far more effective. There is a contrived plot involving nuns and at least 4 false endings which only makes it more tedious. All this, however, is in hindsight because as I was watching the movie I was scared stiff to the point where mirrors and all reflectives surfaces gave me the creeps for days.
It did however redeem itself with a fantastically unexpected ending (quite intelligent too!) which seemed at odds with its very slow build-up. Some great acting from the kids, particularly Cameron Boyce who can range from looking cute (Eagle Eye) to looking eerie. Amy Smart should be given an award for the most disturbing scene in a horror movie – I appreciated my jaw on a whole new level let’s put it that way.
With charred mannequins that can be confused for the human victims of the arson attack 5 years previously, disturbing hallucinations, reflections that move independently and a few heart-in-throat moments – Mirrors may not be the best horror film but it holds its own.
There’s something in the mirrors – are you brave enough to explore what with Ben Carson?