Mirrors Alexandre Aja

Having made a name for himself in 2003 with the remarkably good Haute Tension, Parisian director Aja did the impossible with his next film, 2006's The Hills Have Eyes: he remade a classic horror flick that bettered the original. For his next trick (after penning the drearily unimaginative P2), Aja dusted off Korean director Sung-ho Kim's 2003 Geoul Sokeuro (Into the Mirror) in what appears to be a series of remakes he has planned. Kiefer Sutherland plays a former cop named Ben, who finds work as a security guard for a burned-out department store. On patrol, he sees things in the mysteriously untouched mirrors that surround the entirety of the building and soon uncovers a menacing threat that took the life of the guard before him, and others. The more he gets immersed, the more the mirrored threat spreads into his life, viciously taking his sister's life and imprisoning his estranged wife and kids, leaving Ben to unlock the mystery and save the day. Mirrors is yet another addition to the glut of supernatural flicks that seem to come and go without a dash of remembrance. All of modern horror cinema's tricks of the trade are pulled out, from the ominous reflection in the fore- and background to some excessive gore looking to get the viewer's jaw to drop (in this case, Amy Smart's is literally torn off, in what is the movie's only memorable moment). It's surprising but even more disappointing to see Aja at the helm, considering how masterfully and viscerally he presented his previous two films. Mirrors is undeniably stylish but flat in its desperate attempts to frighten using a clichéd inanimate object and camera trickery (even the Sixth Sense-like twist ending fails to meet its lofty expectations). Currently in the middle of redoing Piranha in 3-D, we can only assume he will improve upon the feeble original. However, judging by what he's done with Mirrors, I'd say that bet would be much safer had it been made three years ago. Two alternate endings are a waste of time, though a deleted scene giving more background on Ben's dismissal from the force is included. A behind-the-scenes look interviews the important folks, with Aja saying he wanted to make a "Shining kind of movie" and producer Alexandra Milchan actually admitting it was a chance to "redo The Shining." Wow. Sutherland goes on to confess that ironically he doesn't have many mirrors in his house, and it's revealed how they tore off Smart's jaw, which is actually worth checking out. A featurette examining mirrors as an "underlying symbol" is eye-rolling to say the least, but provides some weight to the movie's purpose. But, really, I think we already knew that our souls are trapped in our reflections, right? (Fox)