Are you kidding? When will Hollywood realize that horror from the Far East – in this case South Korea – is best seen in its original version? These American remakes have, by and large, been bad, and, in some cases, downright terrible. "Mirrors" joins the list.
 

 


Mirrors – A 20th Century Fox release. Directed by Alexandre Aja. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, Amy Smart, Mary Beth Peil, Cameron Boyce, Erica Gluck and Julian Glover. Rated R.

Are you kidding? When will Hollywood realize that horror from the Far East – in this case South Korea – is best seen in its original version? These American remakes have, by and large, been bad, and, in some cases, downright terrible.

"Mirrors" joins the list. A remake of "Into the Mirror" (2003), it is directed and cowritten by Aja. Suffering from the same problem as Aja’s last film, the remake of Wes Craven’s "The Hills Have Eyes," it’s just not scary. In fact, at times, it is boring. The film wastes the talents of Sutherland, along with the rest of the cast. 

It opens with an unfortunate man who is running from some unseen force. He proceeds to cut his own throat. From there audiences meet Ben Carson (Sutherland), your classic Hollywood cop; in other words, he’s been suspended from the force, is a recovering alcoholic and is separated from his wife (Patton) and two kids (Boyce and Gluck).

Ben takes a job as a night watchman in a burnt-out New York department store and, before you know it, he’s creeping through dark corridors. Occasionally, he sees horrific images in the mirrors. His young son also sees those images. There is plenty of running around that Ben does, piecing the mystery together, all the while becoming more frantic. He believes the mirrors – not only in the department store, but also in his family’s house – hold evil spirits who are trying to get their revenge.

Aja and cowriter Gregory Levasseur have somehow created a bad version of a Dario Argento film, with a little bit of a Lucio Fulci twist thrown in. All that’s missing is the high-pitched choir music. The scares here are cheap (just as in Aja’s remake of "Eyes") and the gore is minimal, though it is pretty good. The best involves Smart, the wasted as Ben’s sister, whose jaw literally drops; it’s not a pretty sight.

You would think that a film called "Mirrors" would use the many that are in the film to better effect. The finale, a fire and brimstone series of explosions and effects, is loud but leaves little impression. That’s the thing with Aja’s films, even his highly overrated "High Tension," is nothing stays with the viewer. There is nothing that is truly original, and it doesn’t help that most of the films he has done are remakes. So is his next – "Piranha," the 1970s low-budget classic.

Sutherland, who is one of the producers, could have picked better material. He’s good – he always is – and, in the early going, he keeps the interest high. But, as the film moves along, nothing sparks it up. Other than Smart, Peil, as a nun who holds a key to the mystery, and Patton and Glover are also wasted.

The poster for "Mirrors" states it’s the “horror event of the summer.” It couldn’t be more off.