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Kiefer Sutherland in Mirrors

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the Mirror; Reflections: The Making of Mirrors; Deleted and Alternative Scenes.

FRENCH director Alexandre Aja was hailed as one of the most exciting names in horror following his acclaimed debut, Switchblade Romance, but he seems to have worked overtime to shatter that reputation since arriving in America to oversee mostly tepid remakes.

Mirrors, which follows The Hills Have Eyes, is a re-imagining of the Japanese film Into The Mirror, but it yet again fails to live up to its early potential.

Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) is an ex-NYPD detective struggling to come to terms with the fallout from shooting a colleague, and the effect it has had on his now-estranged family. In order to get his life back in order, he takes a job as a night-watchman at a derelict department store that was virtually gutted by fire a few years back.

But as he begins to patrol the burned-out ruins, he begins to notice something sinister about the mirrors that adorn the shop’s walls and starts experiencing horrifying hallucinations both at work and at home. Before long, he’s faced with a terrifying race against time to unravel the dark secrets contained within and, in the process, save his family.

Early on, Aja’s movie succeeds in keeping you hooked thanks to Sutherland’s typically intense performance, and a series of well-orchestrated set pieces. The use of mirrors affords the director plenty of opportunity to spring the odd surprise, whether gruesome or jump-out-of-your seat in nature.

But as the mystery slowly begins to unravel, the truth becomes increasingly absurd and Mirrors slips from being a genuinely creepy pot-boiler and character study to the type of experience that exists purely to see how ludicrous it can get.

Sutherland, for his part, remains fiercely committed to the job throughout and drops in a few “classic” moments for fans of his Jack Bauer persona to savour (including the odd “damn it” and a scene in which he gets to interrogate a nun). But Aja’s increasingly desperate attempts to raise the stakes eventually draw more laughs than screams, culminating in an extended conclusion that feels borrowed from yet another movie (The Exorcist).

In the end, horror fans are left to reflect on yet another missed opportunity for the genre – even though Mirrors is never less than ludicrously entertaining.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 110mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: May 4, 2009