Remakes of Asian horror films are the rage in Hollywood, even though few will succeed. Mirrors bucks that trend, delivering creepy, imaginative R-rated thrills throughout. Keifer Sutherland is more than capable as the lead, discovering a burned out New York mall is full of spirits with an effective performance.
Taking a job as a night security officer watching a burned out building doesn’t seem like a solid paycheck, and as it turns out for Sutherland, it’s not. The haunted mirrors inside can kill, and they’ll do so in the creepiest, goriest way possible. To avoid a gigantic plot hole, the mirrors can take their tricks into previously visited homes too, creating a family dynamic with Sutherland’s estranged wife played by Paula Patton.
The mystery of the mirrors unravels slowly after a nifty opening credit sequence, and while this plodding start increases some of the tension, it kills the pacing. Sutherland’s leisurely paced walks through the fire-damaged halls are tiresome. Likewise, some simply awful special effects (particularly the fire) pull the viewer out of the experience.
Aside from those minor problems, Mirrors is effective. The body count is small, but watching people die without any control over their actions definitely fits the horror bill. The ending is undoubtedly a way to screw with the audience’s mind, and it’s a fantastic way to finish.
Mirrors is a surprise, a remake that succeeds on its own or in comparison to the original. It’s not a genre classic, but a satisfying piece of supernatural horror that delivers as it needs to. Hopefully future Asian remakes turn out as well as this.
Mirrors comes to hi-def in a fantastic AVC encode. Light film grain sits on top of the video, and only in a few brief shots does it become heavy, obscuring detail (particularly an early shot inside the security trailer). The transfer is remarkably clear and beautifully detailed, full of rich blacks without obscuring shadow detail. Sharpness never wavers, and the whites are well balanced. Color is natural, and flesh tones accurate.
As with the video, this DTS-HD Master encode delivers on all fronts. There are some spectacular thrills to be had with the surround work on display, becoming a character in and of itself. Bass resonates deeply and regularly. Ambient work is notable, including a busy city street that seems to envelope the viewer in every channel. Dialogue is mixed well, even during quieter scenes.
A detailed picture-in-picture commentary with director Alexandre Aja details much of the film, along with a solid 48 minute making of documentary Reflections. Behind the Mirror is a look at mirror mythology that’s as ridiculous as it sounds. A full sequence of hospital footage used in flashbacks is included, along with storyboards. Eight deleted scenes include an alternate ending that could have worked, but would not have offered the impact or mystery of the one used in the movie.