Few phrases strike fear into the heart of film critics like “straight-to-DVD horror sequel.” Just as terrifyingly predicted, Mirrors 2 is not scary, interesting, or engaging, although it is more or less coherent, so that’s something. And at just under 90 minutes, the movie is blessedly short. Nevertheless, there is something that makes Mirrors 2 on Blu-ray a very worthy buy. More on that later.
First, the feature. We start with Max Matheson (Nick Stahl) in therapy, still traumatized over the death of his fiancée, killed in a car accident a year before the film’s events. Cut to: a night watchman, doing his rounds in a…museum? No, characters keep insisting it’s a boutique department store about to have a grand opening. But they clearly filmed in a museum. This would be a minor problem, except pretty much the entire movie takes place there, and all the characters seem totally bonkers walking around claiming they are in a boutique. Right, the night watchman. He finds a mirror in the middle of a giant gallery…err…boutique room, but his reflection starts to eat glass. And bleed everywhere. And oh man, suddenly he’s bleeding everywhere, not just in the reflection! And glass is poking out of his cheeks! It’s pretty awful!
So yeah, the museum/boutique, called the Mayflower, is gonna need a new night watchman, and Max’s dad owns the Mayflower, so, y’know, he’s hired. Great new career! Max meets the staff, who, sure enough, start being horribly dismembered by their own reflections. Does Max start unraveling clues to the mystery with his psychic powers? Of course! Does it turn out the paranormal killer was a murdered former employee who’s soul has been trapped in a mirror? Oh yeah! Is there decent CGI’d violence? Sure, why not! Full-frontal nudity? You betcha! (The creepiest part of this film was realizing that beautiful naked actress was Christy Romano, aka Kim Possible, aka Shia Lebouf’s older sister on Even Stevens)
It’s clichéd, it’s silly (pro tip: if your reflection is killing you, but only when you’re looking at it, stop looking at the mirror), and you can practically see Nick Stahl wondering where it all went wrong. The score is overbearing and the editing sucks all the scares out of the kill scenes. Sure, the violence is good and gory, although seasoned horror fans have seen better. There’s some decent cinematography. But a spooky dead girl in a mirror? Sigh. You do realize The Ring came out eight years ago, right Hollywood?
So why oh why would you purchase Mirrors 2?
Blu-ray Bonus Features
Yes, there is a pretty good 12-minute featurette about the special effects, and a silly “making of” short where the actors talk about how hard it was to get into character and everyone praises director Victor Garcia (he definitely “wanted to do a classy film” producer Todd Williams, you are totally spot on.) And the Blu-ray does look good, really nice high definition picture. But the real pot of gold is on the second disc. Mirrors 2 is packaged with both a Blu-ray and a DVD version, and one side of the DVD is Into the Mirror, the South Korean film that inspired Mirrors and Mirrors 2. Until this release, Into the Mirror was unavailable in the US, and the Mirrors 2 Blu-ray is the only way to get it.
Into the Mirror is a gorgeous, moody ghost movie reminiscent of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s oeuvre. It too centers on a security guard at a boutique department store (although the director, Kim Sung-Ho, had the brilliant idea of actually shooting in one), and an in-mirror ghost is killing employees, but the plot, denouement, and characterization are dramatically different.
Into the Mirror is a psychodrama, a corporate thriller, and a ghost film all rolled into one. It isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a creepy and engaging piece of horror cinema. If you’re a fan of Asian horror, buy Mirrors 2, re-sell the Blu-ray disc, and keep this little gem somewhere safe. You’ll be glad you did.
"Mirrors 2" is on sale October 19, 2010 and is not rated. Horror. Directed by Sung Ho Kim, Victor Garcia, Viktors Ritelis. Written by Matt Venne, Sung-Ho Kim. Starring Christy Carlson Romano, Nick Stahl.