Thursday, July 4, 2013

Film Review: Into The Mirror (2003)

Into The Mirror (Review)
South Korea/2003
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

After causing the death of his partner during a hostage crisis, Wu Young-min quits the force and becomes chief of security for his uncle's shopping center, Dreampia - a large shopping center being rebuilt due to a fire 5 years prior. As the opening date approaches, odd deaths begin occurring within the building...

Young-min questions the methods of death and believes they may actually be murders, instead of suicides. Soon, the police take over the investigation and stakeout within Dreampia. Ha Hyun-su, an old friend of Young-min, heads the investigation and he also questions the methods of death. As the mystery begins to unravel, the police and security feel an eerie presence, especially in the mirrors.

Into The Mirror has a unique and interesting story. It is a mystery film with supporting elements of horror. Most of the film revolves around the investigation, although it uses a dark, eerie atmosphere and some spooky imagery. It's really a slow-burner. I like the mystery - it kept me glued to my seat.
 The horror elements were also very effective - I love the subtle approach, the creepy figures in the background and the the suspenseful mirror scenes. Also, although it is violent, it's not nearly as gory as the remake, Mirrors; although I enjoyed Mirrors' visual effects, I liked the atmospheric horror in Into The Mirror much more. The ending of the film was also surprising. Despite it's interesting concept and effective blend of mystery and horror, the story did feel too long and it did drag on at times.

The acting is great from the cast. Everything was very smooth and believable, no overacting whatsoever. The music was also intense and eerie, although it was repetitive during certain scenes. The cinematography is great, the film is well-shot and the dark tones are well-fitted. The storytelling was also smooth - the only questions I asked where due to my interest in the story, not because of technical confusion.

Into The Mirror isn't widely available as a singular release. I watched it on the flipper DVD of Mirrors 2. The Blu-ray + DVD combo of Mirrors 2 includes the flipper DVD (a disc that has content on the top and bottom) and side B contains Into The Mirror in Korean with English subtitles. (Side A is Mirrors 2 Unrated, of course.) Into The Mirror is worth the price of the Mirrors 2 DVD or the Blu-Ray+DVD combo, even if you aren't interested in Mirrors 2.

Overall, Into The Mirror is an effectively spooky mystery film. It is entertaining and unique, but it is too slow at times. I recommend a purchase for fans of the genre, a rental otherwise.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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