Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, and Amy Smart. Rated 18A..
After he burst onto the horror scene in 2003 with the wrenchingly suspenseful serial-killer flick High Tension, then followed that up with his exhilarating 2006 remake of Wes Craven’s rampaging-mutants opus, The Hills Have Eyes, Alexandre Aja was seen by some as the gifted new saviour of big-screen fear. Expectations were high about what he might accomplish in the supernatural-horror realm with Mirrors, a remake of a South Korean thriller, but, sadly, Aja has pissed all that promise away.
The movie kicks off with a terrified security guy running for his life through a deserted Harlem subway station. He takes refuge in a grungy locker room that, unfortunately for him, is equipped with a lot of mirrors. It is through reflections that the film’s evil forces lash out, and they show no mercy to those begging for forgiveness. The opening sequence culminates in the type of nasty, extreme-gore effect that Aja is famous for. But things go downhill from there.
Kiefer Sutherland phones in his portrayal of Ben Carson, a troubled New York City cop currently under suspension for the shooting death of his partner. Estranged from his medical-examiner wife (Halle Berry look-alike Paula Patton) and two kids and sharing an apartment with his bartender sister (Crank’s Amy Smart), Ben scores a job as a watchman at an abandoned Manhattan department store, which gives Sutherland multiple chances to show off the gun-pointing and flashlight-holding he perfected on TV’s 24.
The problem is, bullets don’t faze the malevolent spirits inhabiting the ruined store’s multitude of mirrors, and by the time Ben figures that out, you won’t care anymore. Even the most forgiving fans of supernatural horror will balk at Mirrors’ cookie-cutter characterizations, predictable shocks, and ridiculous, punishing plot.
Gore hounds will cream over the bathtub scene, though.