Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) is an undercover police officer on suspension for shooting one of his own. Estranged from his wife Amy (Paula Patton) and his two children due to his love of the bottle as a result of his suspension, Ben takes on a job as a night security officer at an abandoned department store that had been largely destroyed in a fire. What Carson doesn’t realize is that he’s about to walk into a mystery. A mystery involving mirrors, the suicide of another man who worked his job, and the reason the department store Carson patrols was burned down.
So is the setup for the film known as Mirrors.
Having witnessed Kiefer’s character on the floor screaming for dear life because he thought he was burning was a treat indeed. Usually my likeness of Sutherland has been his ability to stick a needle through his arm and having a sinister “Mr. Joshua” grin right afterwords. Still, with this film it was good that his character didn’t always have the upper hand.
Paula Patton turns in an okay performance as Carson’s estranged wife Amy, but she really has nothing to do here. She turned a far better performance in Déjà Vu and seemed to click with Denzel Washington. I didn’t really get that chemistry with Sutherland in this film.
I wouldn’t have even bothered with the "mystery fire" plot. A guy down on his luck suspended from his job finds out life is really worth living after being scared to death by the freaky goings on in the department store he patrols. There you have it. It’s simple and doesn’t require much thought to process.
When the film starts to deal in the mystery of some strange writing which leads to a creepy family who had a demon-possessed daughter is where Mirrors gets off track. Sucking demons from the soul via the department store mirrors? Okay, I can buy it since it’s a supernatural horror film. Bringing the formerly possessed person back to those same Mirrors so that Kiefer’s character can do a wrestling match with a demon? Come on!
Of course by film’s end it is clear that the audience is desperate for an answer to why everything is happening. When they actually get it, I suspect the filmmakers figured they ran out of script before the movie was supposed to end and decided to throw in a few more pages which remove Mirrors from being what it’s supposed to be to a mere copycat of the average episode of Supernatural. At least on Supernatural when things get cheesy, there's some kind of humor to distract you.
I think Mirrors could have been a classic horror film and a nice little plus in the acting resume of Kiefer Sutherland if the film had stayed the course. The way the mystery surrounding the mirrors evolved, it seemed more of a film that needed another sequel to better explain what was going on. Bruce Campbell would have been a better choice for the lead. Then when his Ben Carson meets the demon, the fighting between them would be a throwback to the Evil Dead series and a chuckle to those who find the fight sequences amazingly familiar.
For those of you who were impressed by the film and want to know more about it, the DVD provides several special features including a couple of featurettes about the film as well as several alternate scenes including an unused ending. The alternate scenes are the only place you'll find any director's commentary if you are interested in that sort of thing. The DVD also comes with both the theatrical version of the film as well as the unrated version.
If you are renting this movie and aren't too squeamish, I'd recommended the unrated version. But if you'd like to know if the whole film is worthy of even looking at the alternate edition, I'd go for the theatrical first.