Movie Number– 132
Title– Mirrors 2 (2010)
Running Time– 90 minutes.
Director– Victor Garcia
Writer– Matt Venne
Starring– Nick Stahl, Emmanuelle Vaugiér, Stephanie Honoré Sanchez, Christy Romano, Lawrence Turner

(Originally and IP Movies Review)

It’s movies like Mirrors 2 that have completely changed what a Direct-to-Video (DTV) movie is all about. Movies like this one, Frozen, and Manson, My Name is Evil show how diverse the DTV market can be, and should help to lift the negative stigma that is associated with DTV films. Mirrors 2 isn’t perfect, but it is a great effort by a talented team of people.

Taking place after the original Mirrors, this sequel follows Max Matheson (Nick Stahl – Sin City) as he tries to recover after losing his girlfriend in a deadly car accident a year prior. He takes a job from his father, Jack Matheson (William Katt – The Greatest American Hero, Carrie), as a security guard at the newly renovated Mayflower. The mall is only days away from being reopened, but Max keeps seeing visions in the mall’s mirrors, and mall employees are being picked off in unusual manners. Max thinks he might see a connection between the two, and tries to stop the problem before it gets any worse.

Unbeknownst to me, the included DVD of the Korean film Into the Mirror is the original inspiration for Mirrors 2 and not the original Mirrors like I had expected. This led me to watching the Korean film first. Into the Mirror has a similar story: a security guard, Young-ho, working the nightshift at a mall starts seeing visions in a mirror, and thinks they may be related to deaths that have been occurring in the mall (which is also just a few days from reopening after a fire). This security guard, though, is faced with different given circumstances: instead of having killed his girlfriend in a car accident, Young-ho is dealing with the loss of his former police partner, who was killed while they were facing a hostage situation; Young-ho accidently shot the mirror image of the bad guy instead of real person, resulting in the bad guy killing Young-ho’s partner. Young-ho has not been able to look at himself in the mirror since, but when the weird happenings begin at the mall, he is forced to turn his life around and help the detectives solve the murder cases.

As a film on the whole, Mirrors 2 is better than Into the Mirror, but Into the Mirror tells a more complete story. Into the Mirror is more of a character study than a horror film, which will bore some audiences. Mirrors 2, while not filled to the brim with scary moments, is able to maintain a sense of fear from the start, and gives the viewer the feeling that anything could jump up at any time, and this is a good horror effect that is difficult to create. The special effects are also much improved in the 2010 Mirrors 2 from the 2003 Into the Mirror, and Mirrors 2 really stands out as a great effects film. There is a lot of blood and gore, but it never seems needlessly excessive. Into the Mirror had a completely different tone than Mirrors 2, and most modern horror fans will enjoy the remake/reimaging better than the original.

Nick Stahl first caught my eye with his performance in an independent film called Bully. He played an excellent bully character that the audience was supposed to dislike, but was able to bring a morsel of sympathy to the character. His work in Mirrors 2 is even better. Stahl is a real talent. His work as an actor is subtle, but he manages to find a wonderful amount of vulnerability, and brings a sense of truth to his characters that less-talented actors lack. He is a great lead. Co-star Emmanuelle Vaugiér (Saw II, 40 Days and 40 Nights), is beautiful, yet ineffective as the woman searching for her lost sister. She lacks emotional depth in this part, and audiences will find it difficult to care about her story. There were others along with Stahl that stand out as great: Evan Jones (playing Henry Schow), Lawrence Turner (playing Keller Landreaux), and Christy Romano (playing Jenna McCarty). Romano (Even Stevens, Kim Possible) is stunning in this film, and has a shower scene where she bares all. Aside from her beauty, she is a veteran actor that brings maturity to the cast, and needs to be filming more movies with even bigger parts. She has the talent to pull off the leading lady, and hopefully she will get her chance in film like she has on Broadway (where she played Belle in Beauty in the Beast). Though there are a few weak pegs – Wayne Péré and Lance E. Nichols as the two detectives, for example – the acting in Mirrors 2 is a solid effort.

The weakest factor about Mirrors 2 is that it dumb downs the original story from Into the Mirror too much. It is “Americanized”, but in doing so, the soul of the original is ripped away. It becomes a supernatural murder mystery instead of a character-driven supernatural murder mystery. This difference might look small on paper, but is the difference between a good and a great film. Though Into the Mirror takes a too-slow approach to the plot, Mirrors 2 should have borrowed more of this element and made memorable characters that had real problems to overcome other than the supernatural. As great as the acting is, the two-dimensional characters are still a problem. More could have been done on this front to make Mirrors 2 even more memorable.

Mirrors 2 takes a script that chugs along from dreadfully slow pacing (Into the Mirror) and tries to overcorrect it by delivering forgettable, two-dimensional characters. The movies we remember most have good pacing, strong acting, and great character development; Mirrors 2 hits two out of three of these, and ends up as a fine movie that is absolutely recommended. With the talent behind the scenes and on-screen, more could have been done with the script, but the actors do their best to make up for it (with a few exceptions). As a remake, Mirrors 2 suffers from trying to do too much to make up for the original’s mistakes, but is still a good DTV release.

 


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Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn't until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor's and master's degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.