Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Movie Appraisal: Mirrors 2 (2010)

I was expecting absolute garbage with this movie. Instead, I got something halfway decent. So, I'm actually pretty happy here, despite its direct-to-video status and C-grade actors, this is actually a completely watchable little horror flick. Yes, it's surprising, and, no, it isn't as bad as what the critics and reviews say. They're also the ones who semi-liked Mirrors, which was not a good movie at all for the most part. Here, at least, the plot is coherent and keeps going rather than focusing on completely uninteresting things. And the director, Victor Garcia, seems to kind of know what to do with a horror movie.

So, if you haven't read my synopsis of the original Korean film Into the Mirror, then go read it now. This plot is virtually identical to that one if the police stuff and the ending are completely removed. Well, the characters' names change too, but that's obvious. This is the movie Mirrors should have been, rather than the awkward and dumb family drama THING it turned out to be. With the focus on basically being a remake of Into the Mirror it works quite well, if only because it is literally only Americanizing that story rather than just picking and choosing scenes, excising them, and putting an inferior plot around them like Mirrors did.

I think the only thing Mirrors did better- okay two things- would be the kidnapping a nun, which I still can't get over, and having Kiefer Sutherland, who is a viably good actor. Besides that, this is absolutely the superior movie of the two. It has better scenes, a better plot, more visceral deaths, and a greater coherency and tightness to its storytelling. I honestly think that it will be a while before I forget some of the deaths of this little film.

Man, the eating glass scene is certainly something to behold. Now, that's something different. I haven't seen that in a movie before as far as i can remember, and it's all kinds of seriously awful in the best way. I don't like gore all that much, but it worked really well, making me very uncomfortable and creeping me out without actually showing all that much besides blood. The thing is eating glass is not even killing. That's just the ghost screwing around. That tells me that this mirror ghost (who hopefully isn't a nun-demon) is absolutely bent on getting revenge in the nastiest way possible.

I'm okay with this.

Surprisingly, this is one of the first films this year that I can remember any nudity in. Maybe there may have been brief glimpses of something or other in other movies, but this one is very blatant and obvious, almost a full nude on screen. I was kind of rolling my eyes at the gratuity of it all, especially in the way it was done, but whatever. While it lingered, I knew she was going to die, so I kind of shrugged it off and went, "NUDITY ALERT!!!" basically yelling it when the scene came up. It made me feel better.

Just so you know, I don't care too much one way or the other about nudity in movies. I guess, to me, it's all about how it's handled. I don't like skeevy nudity, but this was just kind of there. So, it was the kind of nudity you just kind of shrug off and say, "Those guys..." It didn't affect the film much, but I probably would have been happier if it weren't there. It seemed out of place to the rest of the movie. Maybe that's just me though. I don't really watch these films for nudity.

Well, that nude scene ends with a CGI head pulling off in a mirror. Wow. And then she goes flying through the glass of her shower somehow. Right through the damn glass. Jenna's death is kind of unintentionally hilarious, and is probably the last piece of the movie that could be called kind of terrible. The rest of the movie is actually quite well done and competent. It's just that the gratuitous nudity mixed with blatant CGI does not make the scene all that good. Plus at one point there are two reflections in the same mirror. Why are there two reflections? That- that negates the point of the movie. That... what? I kind of want to know if it could be a mistake. I have to imagine it is. Nothing like that happens in the rest of the movie. It seems like a fairly massive oversight though for a major death scene.

The goriness is actually kind of decently done. It certainly makes me uncomfortable, especially in Ryan's death scene. That scene was literally brutal to watch.

Another question: Why is the reflection scared of Max? That's dumb. It seems to disappear or not harm others when he is around. Is he some kind of mirror talker? Or one who can speak to ghosts? I think the point of the accident in the early bits of the movie was to imply that he could have died on one side of the mirror already (SPOILER ALERT kind of like the ending to the other two movies), and that somehow let's him withstand the mirrors and their influence? I guess? Then again, just like Into the Mirror, the ghost only punishes the guilty. So, those without guilt have nothing to fear. Which leads me to wonder why the ghost screws around with so many other people. I guess it's just because movie tension, but it kind of defeats the purpose of a vengeful spirit who only attacks those who hurt her.

Anyway, the direction and acting are quite good at times, so much so that I can't believe this is direct-to-video. Mirrors 2 works quite well as both a story and a nice horror movie. Some of the effects are actually quite good, like the inside the mirror stuff, with the cracking world and whatnot. It worked incredibly well for me. Seriously a great idea. Whoever came up with it should start writing their own movies now.

I don't know. I get the feeling everybody is going to disagree with me about this movie, but it works so freaking well for me. I honestly recommend it. It's a neat little horror film that's, no, not as good as the original Korean film, but is so much better than Mirrors that it's ridiculous. It works really well doing what it does. It has a very tight story, some nice effects, good direction at times, and the acting really is not half bad here. No, the nudity doesn't appeal to me. And it basically is an American remake of Into the Mirror. But that's not a bad thing. In fact, it's really quite nice. I also like some of the little added things this movie has. Max, the main character (played by Nick Stahl), can't drive after his accident. Either through refusal or his license was taken away. So, throughout the film, he never drives, and it's never outright stated he can't. That's good storytelling, which is just letting the movie happen, not explaining every single detail.

The only thing that makes this a sequel to Mirrors is the Mayflower department store that is in both movies. beyond that they basically stand alone. To me, this is the true remake, while Mirrors is simply just really terrible. I wasn't expecting much, and I'm so glad I actually got a semi-decent horror film.


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