Fox // 2010 // 90 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // November 19th, 2010
The terror lives on.
The original Mirrors, directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension) and starring Kiefer Sutherland (Flatliners), was stylish and fun, but a forgettable genre entry and there was no need for a sequel. That film itself was a remake of the Korean Into the Mirror, which was nothing that special in its own right. But, by taking ideas from both the Korean and American films, director Victor Garcia (Return to House on Haunted Hill) changes it up to give us a sequel with a slightly different look at what goes on behind the mirror. Unfortunately, he doesn't find a way to make this one any more memorable.
The tragic death of his girlfriend has left Max Matheson (Nick Stahl, In the Bedroom) a shell of his former self. Time and therapy have brought him back to reality a little, and though he's still not right, he's ready to take a job as the night watchman at his father's new department store. Unfortunately, much of the décor comes from the old Mayflower store, the haunted world of the first film. A spirit resides inside the mirrors, forcing people who look within to kill themselves in gruesome fashion. If Max can't figure out why the spirit can't rest, he'll be next.
Victor Garcia deserves credit for making a smaller and, in some ways, a tighter film than Aja's original. That film built a mythology and, convoluted as it might have been, he stuck with it and established an interestingly uneven take on the ghost film. Aside from recognizing that the events in the first film took place, Garcia eschews almost all of that mythology for a more standard revenge plot. It's not great, but it's far from the worst sequel I've ever seen. It's too flawed to warrant a particularly strong recommendation, but there's good value in the Blu-ray/DVD combo package, so it's not a total wash.
The story begins in much the same way as the original film, so Garcia is able to hit the ground running with a glass eating incident that is effective and nicely executed. The effects, mostly practical with a little CG thrown in, are well-done across the board. They're sufficiently bloody and the best part of the film. None of it is as outrageous as Amy Smart ripping her head apart at the jaw, but they work well.
The dialog and plot drag the movie down a little, though. Nick Stahl is reasonably effective in the lead, but there's little attention paid to the side players. These roles are nameless scumbags who have very little to do until the end of the film, when it's much too late to do anything interesting with them. While the reasoning to shrink the scale of the film to match the budget is sound, there's little for us to sink our teeth into. We can safely assume that the people who die are getting comeuppance for something awful, but when we find out what that is, horrible though it may be, the presentation doesn't make a lot of sense.
Flawed as the film is, the Blu-ray release from Fox is commendable for a film of this level. While I don't generally like the idea of the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, this is a case where I wholly approve. The Blu-ray disc contains Mirrors 2 in its unrated edition that boasts an excellent 1080p image. Comparing it to the SD anamorphic transfer on the second disc, there is a marked upgrade in both the visual and audio presentation. Strong detail, good colors, and deep blacks make up for an occasionally soft image. It's not perfect, but it's a big improvement over the DVD image. Sound, as well, is nice and full, with good separation across the speakers. The SD version is not so sharp, and though it's acceptable, the technical design on the Blu-ray is far superior.
Aside from one extra per disc, the special features are the same on the two versions. We start with about three minutes of deleted scenes, giving us little in the way of valuable footage. Though there is a little extra info, it would have slowed the film way down. Next, we have two featurettes. The first, "The Other Side: The Making of Mirrors 2," is a general look at the overall production, with a focus on the director and producers. The second, "Keeping It Real: The Visual and Special Effects of Mirrors 2," is the more interesting of the pair, detailing the effects artists, whose work is by far the most successful part of the film. This goes pretty in depth while looking at the contraptions used to make the deaths look as realistic as possible; they have done good work indeed. The lone Blu-ray exclusive allows us to watch the film "with the woman in the mirror." All it does is give us a picture-in-picture reverse image during the kill scenes with the color change for effect. Like most PIP features I've encountered, this is utterly pointless. Less so is the exclusive on the DVD, a flipper disc that contains Mirrors 2 and the shared features on one side and the original Korean film, Into the Mirror, directed by Sung-ho Kim, on the other. Likely, there were no plans to release the film on its own, so the inclusion here is more than welcome. It's not a great film, either, but there is some stellar cinematography and it's interesting to see where the two films got their ideas, though neither is a faithful adaptation. This is by far my most valuable type of extra, and I was very happy to see it.
Mirrors 2 is nothing special, but it's an effectively bloody ghost movie with well-done practical effects. The film may not be much, with the original Korean film added to the package, I have no problem giving a mild recommendation to the Blu-ray/DVD combo edition of the film.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Deleted Scenes
* Bonus Film
* DVD Copy