In 2008, Alexandre Aja directed ‘Mirrors’ in which he co-wrote with Gregory Levasseur, and based on the film ‘Into the Mirror’ by Sung-ho Kim. ‘Mirrors’ did improve upon the seemingly droning original from 2003. And it wasn’t due to the fact it was Korean and subtitled.
The original played more like a slow moving suspenseful thriller than a horror film to me. ‘Mirrors’ took elements from the original and made a more intriguing story. I feel it still played more like a suspense film, but it contained more elements of horror and a little action thrown in for some good measure. From the opening of this film to its final moments, ‘Mirrors’ captured my interest.
The film stars Kiefer Sutherland (“The Lost Boys,” the “Young Guns” films, and most notably from acclaimed television series “24”) as Ben Carson, a former detective who is on leave for killing his partner in an accidental shooting. This follows the original film as well. Estranged from his wife, Amy (Paula Patton) and children Daisy (Erica Gluck) and Michael (Cameron Boyce) since the dismissal from the force while the matter is investigated, Ben crashes at his sister’s place, Angela (Amy Smart).
Ben attempts to build his life after taking to drugs and alcohol since his dismissal. He lands a job as a night watchman at a once regal department store, the Mayflower, which caught fire. As he begins his new job, he notices strange things happening and seeing other reflections in the mirrors that aren’t there.
Without going into great detail and avoiding many spoilers, an evil spirit inhabits the world inside the mirrors in which Ben systematically uncovers facts about the world behind the mirrors. The evil begins to target Ben’s family. This storyline differs from the original where it was focused on the main character who did not have a family as Ben Carson does in this remake. However, I’ll be remiss to not mention this film spawned a sequel in which the plot and story remained a little closer to the original.
As I mentioned, this remake by Aja (who previously teamed with Levasseur and wrote and directed 2006’s “The Hills Have Eyes”), brought in a different storyline that brought more into the film. I don’t think the film was perfect, but still brought an element of suspense and horror that the original failed to do. I think it nearly created the kind of suspense as Alfred Hitchcock in that it seemed to build the mystery and suspense throughout the film, which kept me in it. Although, I don’t think there is anyone who built suspense as well as Hitchcock did. Where the film somewhat failed was in the characters. While I do believe the film had good characters and they all played a part in the developing story, some of the characters seemed a little underdeveloped for my taste. Since the story revolved around Ben and his family, those where the primary characters, but Ben’s wife and sister did not appear as three-dimensional as I thought could have been.
I also feel the film’s ending was, to some extent, ambiguous. That part of the film remained close to the original’s ending, but I’m not sure if it was warranted with the overall theme and story of the remake. The special features from this film showed an alternate ending, which I think I liked even less. I do think the ending they chose was a little more gratifying than the alternative though. Overall, I enjoyed the film. I found it to be interesting and entertaining with a good concept, story, characters, and dialogue.