It’s rare for a horror movie sequel, let alone a direct-to-video one, to best the original, and yet Mirrors 2 does just that.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the original was mediocre to begin with.
Once again, the protagonist is a former alcoholic turned department store night security guard. This time around, they’ve swapped Kiefer Sutherland for Nick Stahl, who starred a Ben Hawkins on HBO’s wonder fantasy-horror series Carnivale. Somehow, he manages to look younger now than he did during the that series. He has the perfect look for this kind of role; he’s completely believable as a recently sobered drug addict. Further, he has a lot more subtlety than Sutherland, who tends to shout his way through a movie.
Prior to this film’s release, there was some online buzz about a nude scene featuring Christy Romano. It was noteworthy because Romano’s best known work to that point had been for Disney. She was the voice of cheerleader/secret agent Kim Possible, and she starred opposite Shia LeBeouf in the Disney Channel sitcom Even Stevens. Remember Shia LeBeouf? The lanky kid who inexplicably became an action movie star a few years ago? Anyway, the much discussed nude scene is here, and it is quite possibly (or is that kim possibly) the most exploitatively shot shower scene to ever appear in a film not starring Misty Mundae. Seriously, it lasts like five minutes, and there are close ups.
Back to the movie; the writer of this sequel, Matt Venne, seems to have a much better grasp on the premise than Alexandre Aja did with the original. In the original, there was a very convoluted story about a girl who was possessed by a demon, which was then trapped in a mirror and proceeded to kill a few people (but not that many, and with no particular direction or purpose). This time, it’s a girl’s own soul in the mirror, and she acts with reason (I won’t go into it, so as not to spoil, but it’s nice that the writer thought to consider motivation when crafting the monster).
The violence, much like the nudity, is graphic; and aside from one CGI scene featuring the mirror in the guise of Christy Romano harming herself in a very silly and awkwardly fake looking way, it looks good. The original relied on shock value; but after something jumps out in a mirror for the tenth time, you need something more to go on; the sequel went with gore, and it worked well.
The movie moves along at a nice pace, much faster than the original; though there are some odd choices. For instance, there’s a scene where the security guard and the woman he’s working with get a clue from someone and rush out the door on their way back to the department store. Normally, the movie would then cut to them arriving at their final destination; but instead, we have a scene of them walking to their car, getting in, and driving off. Why did we need to see that?
Actually, that brings up something else I liked. The guard, Max, can’t drive, and so he has to either run from place to place or ask for rides. It seems like a pointless little detail, but its the kind of thing most writers wouldn’t bother with, so I appreciate it.
Mirrors 2 is a fun, exploitative horror movie with high production values and a great cast. It also stands alone from the original, so feel free to skip that one in favor of this.
Video and audio are very nice. Extras include making-of features and a commentary. The DVD includes the Korean movie this film was based on, Into the Mirror.