Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) is a former NYPD cop who is trying to piece his life together after he accidentally kills a fellow policeman. He starts working as a security guard for a department store burned down by arsonists, but finds himself in a disturbing environment surrounded by mirrors which seem to be alive. Ben's ex-wife Amy (Paula Patton) is concerned when Ben starts behaving erratically, especially when their two children (Cameron Boyce and Erica Gluck) seem to be in danger.
Review by Louise Keller:
An unexpected twist elevates this well constructed supernatural thriller whose chilling concepts and vivid imagery make it a scary experience. Based on Sung-ho Kim's Korean horror film Into The Mirror, French director Alexandre Aja who collaborated with Grégory Levasseur on the screenplay, makes full use of every twisted notion in which mirrors and reflections can terrify in order to taunt us. Kiefer Sutherland grounds the film with his credible, vulnerable performance, while around him chaos runs riot with the help of an onslaught of visual effects, superbly executed.
Tension builds from the onset with a gruesome and disturbing scene that unsettles us even before the credits start. The credits themselves are a work of art with mirror images of New York skyscrapers from all angles as their morph together in a bewildering and mesmerising kaleidoscope. Then we enter the world of Sutherland's former cop Ben Carson who is desperately trying to pull his life together after he accidentally killed a policeman colleague. For a troubled man on medication trying to oust his demons, Ben's new job as security guard for the remains of an elegant department store, ravaged by fire, is far from ideal. Especially as the many mirrors in the now derelict store are undamaged and hold evil and disturbing secrets. The creepy atmosphere compounds with Aja's use of creaking doors, noisy bats, floods of water and an eerie music sound scape that starts our imagination working. Then there are screams, fire and mysterious handprints as strange things start to happen.
The film works best without too much analysis. Dialogue can appear trite and the plot points often counter the realms of logic. Paula Patton, the stunning beauty with whom Denzel Washington fell in love in Déjà vu is appealing as Ben's former wife. There's plenty of focus on her cleavage (if we need a deterrent from the themes of psychiatric experiments) and it is hard to imagine that the scene in which her clothes are drenched is anything except gratuitous titillation. The two youngsters (Cameron Boyce and Erica Gluck) are both excellent as Ben's precious children whose fates become intertwined with the mirrors. As the music swells and the visual effects explode into a climactic build up, it is gratifying when the conclusion takes us beyond our expectations.
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CAST: Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, Cameron Boyce, Erica Gluck, Amy Smart, Mary Beth Peil, John Shrapnel, Jason Flemyng, Tim Ahern, Julian Glover, Josh Cole
PRODUCER: Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur, Alexandra Milchen, Marc Sternberg, Moritz von der Groeben
DIRECTOR: Alexandre Aja
SCRIPT: Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur (Sung-ho Kim screenplay for Into the Mirror)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Maxime Alexandre
MUSIC: Javier Navarrete
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Joseph C. Nemec III
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 6, 2008
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.