“Don't make me threaten you!” warns Kiefer Sutherland midway through Mirrors with a snarl that would make Jack Bauer proud. The 24 hero would probably also relish the scene where his traumatised cop-turned-tortured security guard Ben Carson pulls a gun on a nun, frog-marching her out of her monastery so she can help him banish the ghouls lurking behind the mirrors at the fire-ravaged department store he's patrolling.
On reflection, though, it's probably not the best idea to morph your lead into the mirror image of his most celebrated role. Indeed, if there's one thing that's warped in Mirrors, it's Carson's instant transformation from pill-popping alky to butt-kicking action man, just so Switchblade Romance director Alexandre Aja can shoehorn in a bit of effects-laden whoop-ass before the end credits roll.
This US remake of 2003 South Korean horror Into The Mirror certainly won't go down as Aja's finest hour, even if it does feature an impressively nasty throat-slashing opener and a grisly scene where an expendable supporting character rips off a jawbone. There's also a climactic reversal that, while making no sense whatsoever, at least leaves you with a creeping sense of unease.
For the most part, though, it's full of the unintentionally comic (Sutherland racing into the house of estranged wife Paula Patton to paint over her glass-doored closets), the narratively tortuous and the downright bleeding obvious (does Ben really need to remind his spouse that water has a reflective surface?).
More happily, Mirrors makes vivid use of Nicolae Ceausescu's unfinished Academy of Sciences building in Bucharest, turning its cavernous innards into a perfect combination of Macy's and Hades. But like the jobbing Brit thesps loitering in the wings (Jason Flemyng, Julian Glover, John Shrapnel), there's a crippling sense of familiarity about the whole shebang that no one seems remotely bothered about fixing. Let's hope they all get seven years bad luck.
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