Mirrors (2008)

(On TV, August 2015)  A common failing for horror movies is to fail to match the surface shocks with a coherent background acting as explanation.  Some filmmakers aren’t even interested in doing so, and their films feel like a series of shocks untroubled with justifications.  But I trust that viewers like a bit of substance to go with the scares.  Mirrors, to its credit, almost gets it right: its surface shocks have to do with reflective surfaces and what can reach characters from behind the mirror.  The gather good atmosphere supports an effective sense of dread (especially during its very end), and the film’s various gags get to have a bit of fun with the concept of “mirrors”.  As Mirrors develops its mythology further, though, we’re asked to believe in increasingly arbitrary details, inconsistent powers and a rather dull origin story.  Keifer Sutherland does what he can to keep things interesting, and Paula Patton does her darnedest in an underwritten role, but there really isn’t much more here than a few showpieces for director Alexandre Aja.  Mirrors is far more interesting in small disconnected moments than as a coherent whole, and even a few effective shots don’t make more of a lasting impact if they’re impossible to place in an effective story.  

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