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John’s Horror Corner: Mirrors (2008), a very creepy remake featuring one of the best death scenes of its decade.

May 3, 2021

MY CALL: The story isn’t compelling, but the scares, creeptastic reflections and gore make for some unforgettable horror fun. If only for Amy Smart’s death scene, this is not to be missed! MORE MOVIES LIKE MirrorsFor more evil mirror movies try Oculus (2014) or Mirror Mirror (1990). But I’d skip Mirror (2014)

After losing his family and job as a police officer, Ben (Kiefer Sutherland; Flatliners, Stand By Me, Taking Lives, Dark City) takes a job as a night security guard at a shopping mall that tragically burned down. As soon as his first shift, Ben notices some creepy things. What he sees in and through the mirrors not only escalates, but somehow extends to his family’s home to haunt his estranged wife (Paula Patton; 2 Guns, Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol) and kids.

Okay, say what you want about this movie, but the visceral gore and flesh-tearing effects are positively outstanding. We see completely on-screen throat gashes, slow wincing throat slits, cheek-ripping jaw-breaking, and all manner of exquisite blood spewing to accompany them. Other disturbing imagery includes a horrifically burned partially naked woman.

The scene that makes this movie is Amy Smart’s (The Butterfly Effect, Flight 7500, Seventh Moon, Campfire Tales, Strangeland) unforgettably brutal death scene. Everything about this scene is perfect, from her non-matching reflection’s malevolent demeanor to the absolutely soul-rattling gore effects that ensue. This is easily one of the best death scenes of its decade!

This film plays on the horror trope to not trust one’s reflection, and it plays that sinister tune very well. As the story progresses the rules that govern our mirror-bound spirits seem to change and develop radically, making the final act full-tilt bonkers compared to the preceding 60 minutes. Whereas we start with haunted mirrors, we gradually move into full-scale house haunting and some aggressive “crossing-over.”

Director and co-writer Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D, The Hills Have Eyes, Crawl) remakes the South Korean Into the Mirror (2003) with brutal pizzazz. Aja really seems to like remakes. But that’s fine, since I love all three that he’s done! I appreciated most of the antics that unfolded, as well as the ending. Recommended!

REMAKE/REIMAGINING/REBOOT SIDEBAR: For more horror remakes, I strongly favor the following: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Thing (1982), The Fly (1986), The Blob (1988), The Mummy (1999), The Ring (2002), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Friday the 13th (2009), Piranha 3D (2010), Let Me In (2010), Evil Dead (2013), Carrie (2013), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), It (2017), Suspiria (2018) and Child’s Play (2019). Those to avoid include Body Snatchers (1993; the second remake), War of the Worlds (2005), The Invasion (2007; the third remake), Prom Night (2008), Night of the Demons (2009), Sorority Row (2009), Patrick: Evil Awakens (2013), Poltergeist (2015), Martyrs (2015), Cabin Fever (2016), Unhinged (2017), The Mummy (2017) and Wrong Turn (2021). I’m on the fence about An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), The Grudge (2004), Halloween (2007), It’s Alive (2009), My Bloody Valentine (2009), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), Fright Night (2011), The Thing (2011; a prequel/remake), Maniac (2012), Rabid (2019), Pet Sematary (2019) and Castle Freak (2020), which range from bad to so-so (as remakes) but still are entertaining movies on their own.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2021 7:47 pm

    Most of this movie was pretty creepy and the death scene you mention was disturbing and awesome, and yes one of the best of the decade. With a little more work on the characters and plot this could have been outstanding.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      May 3, 2021 7:54 pm

      Yes! I think that’s why some people pan this one. But I love it for what it is, even if it never got me to invest in the characters… except for Angela (Amy Smart). She’s the most sympathetic character in the movie before she meets her demise.

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