Mirrors 2 is one of those god-awful direct-to-DVD sequels that nobody ever asks for. It’s gory, violent, poorly written and inadequately structured. The cast consists of actors and actresses that aren’t quite glamorous enough for Hollywood, either in looks or performance, but somehow suited for this type of material. The special FX are cheesy, the pacing poor. Yet, for all of its initial shortcomings, Victor Garcia’s film is immediately watchable. Where else will you see a half-naked woman garishly rip the head from her own neck, entrails and all?
Movies like this work because they increase the disgusting factor tenfold in overtly imaginative ways. The gorish FX are cheap, but such only adds to the charm. People are beheaded, disemboweled, sliced; the opening scene features a security guard forced to swallow glass. The camera never shies away from the madness because, well, it doesn’t have to. This is low-grade horror to the highest degree – I won’t call it great, or even good, but it leaves an impression.
A follow-up to the so-so Kiefer Sutherland horror-fest from 2008, Mirrors 2 isn’t so much a sequel as it is a film harboring a similar concept. Garcia draws from other freaky-spirits-seeking-revenge-while-encased-behind-glass-flicks such as The Ring or, more appropriately, the Korean film Into the Mirror. The situations are familiar, even trite, but adequate enough to draw a few goosebumps.
Nick Stahl (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) stars as a young man who, after a near death experience, develops an affinity for seeing ghosts – or, come to think of it, a ghost. Actually, since everyone is able to see the specter, Stahl’s character doesn’t really add anything to the proceedings. Anyway, the spirit is exacting bloody vengeance against the employees of the Mayflower Museum (featured as a department store in the original). To what end is the basis of the flimsy, predictable plot, one that is likely to draw more laughs than chills.
But nobody watches these mindless sequels for story, or character. They want gore, nudity and a few cheap scares. To that end Garcia’s film delivers.
Acting-wise, Stahl lends, let us say, a certain amount of depth to a thankless role – what with his expressive eyes and chiseled features. The man can act when properly motivated. So what is he doing in a direct-to-DVD flick? Wasn’t he part of the stellar ensemble featured in 2002’s Oscar-nominated In the Bedroom? What happened?
The other players include Emmanuelle Vaugier (Far Cry), who tries hard to emulate emotion, but mostly appears flaky. William Katt (Carrie) pops in for a brief bit as Stahl’s onscreen father, but inexplicably disappears midway through. Christy Romano (The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream) displays the extent of her talent by showing up, looking seductive and then undressing. The award for Worst Onscreen Cop Duo of All-Time, meanwhile, goes to Wayne Pére and Lance E. Nichols for, among other things, letting a wimpy security guard chew them out in astonishing fashion. Such is not entirely their fault as Matt Venne’s by-the-numbers script affords little in the way of juicy dialogue, or engaging characterization. Here is a movie where people do things based on the actions of other people in better films. The cops talk tough and behave nonchalantly because, well, that’s how all onscreen cops behave, right?
The ghoul itself is hokey; its presence more akin to the ghosts of Nickelodeon’s TV-series Are You Afraid of the Dark? than the demons of Paranormal Activity, or those in the original Mirrors for that matter. The creepy factor only sets in when the entity appears as an evil reflection of the person it means to kill; even then it’s the go-for-broke gore FX that induce a reaction, not the actors’ evil impersonations of themselves.
Tellingly, the best bits of the film are found in the “making of” documentaries included on the Blu-ray disc. Cast and crew praise one another for their excellent work – all of them, especially Garcia, really felt they were making, if not a classic, then at least a decent film. Actor Lawrence Turner, donned in the sort of attire that would make Due Date’s Ethan Tremblay proud, gives the interview of his life, citing Dennis Hopper’s Frank Booth (featured in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet) as his key inspiration. He’s truly proud of his work in Mirrors 2, which, I suppose is really cool, or kind of pathetic – depending on how you look at it.
A couple of deleted scenes and a glimpse at the film’s visual FX round out the disc’s special features. There is a PiP feature that provides an alternate look at a few scenes in the film – from the POV of the ghost – but the extra can only be accessed while watching the movie, and proves quite irritating, if not distracting.
The image quality on the Blu-ray is slightly muddled, with cinematographer Lorenzo Senatore’s heavy blues and dark shadows appearing fuzzy; lacking in crisp, high-definition detail. The image is akin to TV-movie standards and, understandably, lacks the sharpness of bigger-budget fair. Sound, on the other hand, is appropriately mixed, with Frederik Wiedmann’s Zimmer-esque score dominating on all fronts. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand; sound FX are cheesy, but appropriate.
I didn’t like Mirrors 2, but I enjoyed it – if that makes sense. The storyline is absurd, the ending even moreso; the spirit carries a grudge against quite a few people, some of which aren’t really even that bad. Yet, they are diced and sliced in bizarre, even perverse ways. I’m all for revenge, but damn – this spirit is pissed.
If you love horror of the 80s variety, then you might get a kick out of Mirrors 2. I’m not recommending it, just offering it up to those who enjoy watching schlocky B-movies, or anybody seeking a cheap, demented laugh.