Monday, May 4, 2015

Film Review: The Mirror (2014)

The Mirror (Review)
United Kingdom/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The significant lack of effective horror is most disappointing."

Roommates Matt (Joshua Dickinson), Jemma (Jemma Dallender), and Steve (Nate Fallows) participate in the Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge when they purchase a haunted mirror...

The Mirror is your run-of-the-mill found-footage horror film. The plot follow these generic characters as they hang up this supposedly haunted mirror and setup cameras in their home. Then, Matt begins to sleepwalk. He wets himself, he wakes up in strange places, the furniture moves on its own... You get the gist. So, something minuscule happens with Matt, friends bicker and joke about for 10 minutes, something else happens to Matt, friends bicker for another 10 minutes, and so on. The film leads to the ultra-cliché ending: guy walks around his dark home with his camera and records people's backs.

As you can see, The Mirror is an utterly disappointing film. It's very generic and predictable. It's very slow-paced and uneventful. And, worst of all, it lacks any effective horror. This film isn't creepy, it's not suspenseful, it's not atmospheric... For crying out loud, it doesn't even have your basic jump-scares! There are some bloody scenes, but those arrive in the final act and they're not very disturbing — some of it even looks a little comical. In fact, most of this film's story doesn't occur until the final 20 or so minutes.

There are bits and pieces of somewhat interesting ideas throughout the film, but most of it plays out like someone's home videos. You're essentially watching a group of friends eating, joking, and bickering for most of the runtime. With that said, you can probably see why this film is so uneventful. Being uneventful, the film snowballs into its other issues, like the poor pacing and lack of balance. Also, the film completely disregards its mirror for most of the runtime. If you're expecting something mind-bending or anything at all to do with the mirror, like Oculus, please adjust your expectations — the mirror in this film is barely used.

Despite the characters being cutouts of other films, the acting isn't half-bad. Jemma Dallender stands out as the most likable and real — for lack of a better term. The film is found-footage, but it never became nauseating or annoying like some other films. There are some gore effects that don't look that great, but they're far and few between, so it's not a significant issue. I applaud writer and director Edward Boase for creating this film on a micro-budget — it truly is an accomplishment. However, Boase is severely lacking in ambition. The film is technically well-made, but Boase fails to craft effective horror and the narrative is as generic as a film could get — the ending in particular feels like it was ripped out of every found footage movie ever made.

Overall, The Mirror is a disappointing film. It hurts me to say it's a bad film because it had a promising concept and it truly is competently crafted. Unfortunately, The Mirror is very boring, predictable, and cliché. The significant lack of effective horror is most disappointing. Despite the potentially interesting mirror concept, if you've seen any found-footage horror films in the last 10 years, you've already seen this. If you're looking for a better found-footage horror film, I recommend [Rec], The Taking of Deborah Logan, and The Possession of Michael King.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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