Ass Backwards

Look, I see scary images in mirrors all the time, but I ultimately conclude that it’s just that merry prankster known as time streaking my face with yet another wrinkle or peppering my head with another gray hair.

So, Alexandre Aja, director of the new reflective-centric horror film “Mirrors,” I say this to you – bring it on. I doubt you can serve up images scarier to me than the ones I must confront on a daily basis.

And while the overrated director does try, with countless scenes of inexplicable bloodletting and gore, it musters all the terror of a facial nick by a Gillette Sensor.

Jack Bauer, I mean, Keifer Sutherland, plays a disgraced cop who is estranged from his family and must resort to overnight security detail of a burned-out building.

You read that correctly. He’s getting paid to look after a charred structure of wood and slate. And mirrors. Lots and lots of mirrors.

Seeing as this building was once a popular department store, the mirrors have stories to tell. Are they ghosts? Trapped spirits? Angry Gap customers whose form-fitting khakis looked a tad unflattering?

No, it involves some hokum about behavioral testing that took place decades ago in the very same structure (prior to when it was a department store, apparently, because that would just be too awkward to have the shock therapy department right next to the lingerie). And these mirrors have trapped some very ugly visages inside that can manipulate modern-day folk into committing senseless acts of special effects.

The story drags on, playing by the same rules as countless other films based on Asian horror films (and that is… there are no rules). The mirrors drive some suicidal, others homicidal and causes others to straighten their bangs. None of it makes much sense and it’s as though director Aja and co-writer Gregory Levasseur just fill in the gaps between staging gruesome death sequences.

Sutherland is in full “24” mode, yelling “Dammit!” repeatedly (though sometimes he gets to say “God” in front of it, since this is rated “R” and all). He packs heat and threatens those darn mirrors to stay away from his family (but with a wife as hot as actress Paula Patton, can you really blame the mirror?).

But just in past seasons of Sutherland’s hit TV show, “Mirrors” becomes unhinged and shatters any semblance it may have once hat. At least there are no mountain lions waiting to pounce on his children in the film.

Director Aja has somehow earned a modicum of respect, though I can’t discerns what really lifts his style above any of the other generic, quick-cut, assembly line horror films being released every other week in the past few years. His first film, “Haute Tension,” was, um, interesting in fits and starts. And his follow-up, a remake of Wes Craven’s “The Hills Have Eyes,” was but a mere wallow in mutant sadism. The best that can be said for “Mirrors” is that he managed to avoid or digitally erase any time a crew member was reflected in any of the mirrors within the shots.

Kudos to you, Mr. Aja.

If you ask me, the murky, noisy, pointlessly bloody execution of “Mirrors” is a true reflection of his talent.

~ by usesoapfilm on August 19, 2008.

2 Responses to “Ass Backwards”

  1. I’m glad you cleared this up. I saw a review at AMC Monsterfest about this movie being sort of good. I didn’t really believe it, but as an avid horror fan I thought I might have to check it out. Now I can just get the original on DVD and save my money and eyes from having to see Jack Bauer’s smell-something-bad face one more time.

  2. I don’t care how much Tarantino loves Aja. I still think he sucks ass. I can’t believe that anyone with a film oriented mind could think anything else.

    HIs films are, like you say, “generic and quick cut assembly line horror.”

    I much prefer the horror films from years ago.

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