Troma // 1987 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 30th, 2004
Anything preceding "of Death" can't be all bad can it? Can it?
Yes it can. Mirror of Death is a Lifetime original movie meets a power drill to the kidneys.
Sarah (Julie Merrill, The Monster Squad) is a woman trapped in an emotionally debilitating, physically abusive marriage to an unattractive balding man. When she catches her beau in a compromising position with another woman, Sarah is issued a horrible beating. She retreats to her sister's house to seek solace.
While recuperating, Sarah confronts her insecurity. She doubts her worth as a wife, and questions her attractiveness as a woman. Languishing in the pits of near-depression, she stumbles across the one salve that has helped so many unfortunate women in the same position: voodoo!
Loaned a book of voodoo rituals by a mysterious gentleman (who notes that he has to leave to attend a voodoo conference in Las Vegas -- ?!), Sarah investigates the variety of spells and enchantments that may free her from her miserable life.
She pinpoints one possibly fun dark arts ritual, lights a few candles in front of the titular mirror, and lets fly with some gibberish. She opens her eyes, and amazingly, the woman staring back at her isn't a bruised, saddened victim but a ravishing woman with a load of eye makeup and a butched '80s coif.
Beauty and confidence through ancient, forbidden rites of evil, however, comes with a price. For Sarah, it's a malevolent demon force, which has inhabited her body, intent on doing a whole lotta killing.
The newly-possessed Sarah goes on the prowl, looking to whack a few unsuspecting, but lecherous men, including, of course, her jackass husband. But Sarah is unaware of the supernatural Black Widow that commandeers her body every so often. Determined to battle the demon, she teams up with her sister, her sister's husband, and a homely paranormal investigator to break the curse of...the mirror of deattthhhhhh.
You know, I was sitting around the other day, flipping through the television channels, when I stumbled upon one of those surgery documentaries. Well, the doctors were rooting through some guys eye sockets with what appeared to be ice cream scoopers, when the thought occurred to me:
"You know, I haven't watched a Troma movie lately."
Well, the old adage about being careful what you wish for (it slips my mind at the moment) has materialized as Mirror of Death.
A tedious exercise in amateurish filmmaking and stultifying plot, Mirror of Death represents yet another entry into the genre of "Disposable-'80s-Horror-Trash-Inexplicably-Distributed-by-Troma."
As a thoughtful, provocative commentary on the mentality of abused women and how they react to the horrors of demonic possession, Mirror of Death fails utterly. But as a 90 minute offering of cinematic garbage that is ripe for derision by you and your inebriated friends, it succeeds.
There is plenty on display to laugh at here. And here's a list!
The crappy-ass special effects. The only thing "special" about these effects is the education the animators received in grade school. The demon-out-of-the-mirror gag is ludicrous, topped only by the green laser beams that shoot out of Sarah's fingertips.
Riding in a car. There are two overlong sequences of characters simply driving their cars. Like about a minute each of just passenger-seat-viewpoints of the exciting cinematic feat of operating a motor vehicle. There must be some kind of psychological edge to having a movie that is 92 minutes long, versus 89 minutes.
The voodoo conference in Las Vegas. Gives new meaning to "rolling the bones."
A nice, tidy, contrived romance at the end. After a crap-load of supernatural hullabaloo, the ghost investigator gazes into Sarah's eyes and blurts out, "You know, you are very beautiful," or something to that effect.
There you have it.
The film is reportedly "digitally remastered," but I think that's a term that doesn't mean anything. If this movie is remastered I would have hated to see what the mastered version looked like. Full-frame, heavily pixelated, and hazy as all get out, the picture quality for Mirror of Death falls somewhere between the aftereffects of getting punched in the eyes and your old wedding video. The sound is even worse. Much of the dialogue (thankfully?) is muted, occurring in random places. A truly pathetic stereo mix.
Bonuses are the typical Troma extras (annoying music videos, trailers for films that will never come out, a superfluous interview with Dario Argento, and some credits).
In the 1940s, some doctors performed a procedure called a "transorbital lobotomy," in which a surgical knife is inserted above the eyeball and then moved to slice the brain fibers. The 2004 equivalent is watching Mirror of Death.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, watching you is like getting kicked in the ba-" Screw it. Guilty.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Music video
* "Radiation March"
* Dario Argento interview