The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2008
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 111 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Cantonese
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, Amy Smart, Cameron Boyce
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Music by: Javier Navarrete
Written by: Alexandre Aja & Gregory Levasseur
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 13, 2009
"There is evil….on the other side"
Attempting to pick up the shattered pieces of his life, a disgraced former cop (Sutherland) takes a routine security job guarding the charred ruins of the once-famous Mayflower department store in New York. But the terrifying ominous images he sees in the building’s ornate mirrors will send him on a pulse-pounding mission to unravel the secrets of the store’s past...before they destroy his entire family!
I guess it would be fair to say that I like horror films as a rule. Supernatural elements are tolerable for me as long as they don’t involve the demonic possession of the kids. The trailer for Mirrors looked okay although seeing Kiefer Sutherland in the lead didn’t inspire lots of confidence. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with him but as it stands currently I have a hard time seeing him as any character other than Jack Bauer (from Fox’s “24”). This film’s screenplay tells a disjointed tale about The Mayflower Department store fire that occurred 5 years earlier as the result of arson. The arsonist (who is identified later in the film) set the fire in an attempt to destroy the mirrors in the store as he claimed that they were evil. The story opens with a night watchman who seems to be running from something although there is no one apparently present. He ultimately ends up in front of a mirror in a subway locker room and begins begging for his life. His reflection takes a shard of glass and cuts its throat. This simultaneously cuts his throat and kills him. Ben Carson (Sutherland) is then introduced as a former undercover cop who left the job after an accidental on duty shooting. He is estranged from his wife and two kids, is living with his sister Angela (Smart) and seems to be trying to get his life back on track. He takes a night security job at the site of the burned remains of the Mayflower Department store which is required by the insurance company. His first night at work he notices that every mirror located in the burned out remains is intact and as clean as a whistle. He also begins seeing and hearing things in their reflections that he doesn’t understand initially. After these visions become more intense and begin to manifest themselves not only physically but outside of the confines of the store’s mirrors, Ben begins to understand that he must find the answer to their origin.
There were aspects of this story that I liked and I think that as a horror movie it has its share of frightening moments. The problem lies in the screenplay which doesn’t follow a logical path that allows the story to flow smoothly. The truth behind what is occurring, and why, feels a little bit like an after thought which doesn’t make for a rewarding explanation later on. The ending has a bit of a twist which I thought was okay. Sutherland is his usual gravelly voiced, intense (ala Jack Bauer) self but I didn’t think it was a problem based upon the character he plays here. Paula Patton seems to be finding her way into lots of movies I have watched lately. I don’t think she is a great actress but her performance in this was fine. I like Amy Smart and was disappointed that she played such a small role. The special effects were quite good and feature a pretty impressive sequence involving Smart. I think that this movie is best enjoyed if you just sit back and take it in without hoping for answers to all of its questions. Seen in that light it is a half way decent horror/thriller. I watched the unrated cut which appears to add an additional minute of footage to the theatrical version.
This film contains strong violence, disturbing images, language, and brief nudity. Not for younger viewers.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Mirrors comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 mbps.
This film has a pretty even balance between the use of dark and light elements. There are many sequences shot in the low light, many of which take place in the burned out department store. The walls are charcoal colored with an uneven blend of dark grays, blues and deep blacks. In contrast there are scenes such as those shot in the interior of Amy’s house, Michelle’s apartment and outside during the day that are well lit, colorful and bright. I was happy with the way both looked as the dark segments had excellent depth with appreciable shadow delineation and deep blacks. The brighter segments were punchy with crisp, dynamic whites and notable object detail. Colors weren’t eye popping but they were naturally rendered and didn’t appear muted or flat. Images exhibited above average detail that on occasion rose to higher levels that made close ups very revealing. Long range shots appeared resolute with good dimensional depth and visible texture. Grain was intact and slightly uneven in texture which made its presence more obvious in certain scenes but I never felt that it was problematic.
Films like this rely heavily on their soundtracks to help enhance the build up of tension and to augment the intensity of jump scares. This is done primarily through the use of music and sound effects that correspond with what is occurring onscreen. I found that this DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix from Fox handles this very well through the use of bold dynamics, deep bass extension, and highly detailed sonics that play upon the aural senses. This is a crystal clear encoding that offers realistic reproduction of the elements in the recording so that it elevates the presence of eerie off camera sounds as well as those that are meant to be in your face. The creepy music score is intelligently coupled along with low frequency effects to punctuate jump scares and frightful moments with room filling orchestration and deep bass emphasis that occasionally reached sub bass depth. Voices were supremely textured with excellent tonal character and estimable room penetration. The surrounds were actively engaged during suspenseful moments and generated an immersive 360 degree sound field that heightened the “scary” experience. This didn’t apply solely to those segments though. There was plenty of atmospheric ambience and directional cues that made things like falling rain, echoing sounds or front to rear panning effects feel enveloping. I thought this mix complimented the film and sounded great.
- Anna Esseker hospital footage - short
- Reflections: The making of Mirrors – 48 minute featurette
- Behind the Mirror – 18 minute effects featurette
- Animated storyboard sequence – The bathroom scene
- 8 Deleted scenes and an alternate ending – with optional commentary
- Bonusview PiP – Mirror Images: Commentary with Director Alexandre Aja and Writer/Producer Gregory Levassuer
- Unrated and Theatrical versions of the film
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc – A standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device
- D-Box Motion Code
Mirrors isn’t the scariest or most original horror/thriller that I have seen but if looked at in the right light it has enough going for it to make it a decent rental on a dark stormy night. Fox has done a fine job with its presentation on Blu-ray disc as it offers great audio and solid video quality that is complimented by a good set of bonus features that unfortunately are not in high definition.
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