The desire to like this movie was pretty high for me. As much of a fan of Alexandre Aja‘s as I am, I found his 2008 Mirrors pretty uneven (great gore, some cool kills, but not much beyond that). It always irked me that the essence of the original Korean film on which it was based on (Into the Mirror) was lost with the silly demon mumbo-jumbo. When I’d read that Mirrors 2 was being made and that the creators wanted it to be more in-line with the original – I was happy to hear about it. I was also happy to hear it takes place in New Orleans – my favorite city and one with a soul of its own.
I needn’t have gotten my hopes up. In a word – Mirrors 2 is weak. Yes, this direct-to-DVD sequel returns to the roots of the original Korean tale – there’s a guilt-ridden protagonist, a murder and cover-up, and the vengeful spirit whose soul is stuck in MirrorWorld. Nick Stahl (looking significantly… aged… since we saw him in T3) stars as Max, a man trying to put his life back together after a horrific car crash killed his fiancée and him (for a few minutes, anyway). Max’s father hires him to be a night security guard at his soon-to-open Mayflower Department Store in New Orleans and he takes the job despite the fact that the last guy with the job decided to play Last Supper with mirror glass. The bodies pile up and the murder mystery plays out in stereotypically expected ways. Absolutely nothing new or interesting here.
I liked that the filmmakers chose to distance themselves almost completely from Aja’s movie – the only connection is that many of the items (like… mirrors) from Kiefer’s store have been salvaged and used in the Mayflower. This is also where the plot turns to swiss cheese. The mirrors from Aja’s film contained an evil entity – once it was destroyed by the actions of that movie, the mirrors really didn’t matter anymore – unless the intention is to bring back Ben (Kiefer Sutherland). There’s a backstory for the soul trapped in Mirrors 2 – which has nothing to do with the first one. So why bother linking the two at all? Who knows. Another plot hole is Max’s father – played by the Greatest American Hero himself, William Katt. He’s one of the few actors having any fun in this movie – but he’s the worst kind of red herring. There’s zero reason for any vengeance on him, yet Max has to run across the city of New Orleans to save him. The viewer waits patiently for a reveal that Daddy Knew All Along and Covered the Crime Up, but it never comes to fruition. A better script would have had the focus on Emmanuelle Vaugiér’s character – sister of the missing girl, with Stahl’s a supporting character (if you have to have him in there at all). That would have had a much greater emotional impact, especially by the end of the film when the mystery is solved.
Another gripe is that any genre film who claims to take place in New Orleans… should actually take place in New Orleans. Even to the non-N’awlins-obsessed, it’s obvious that something was amiss with the depiction of the city. New Orleans has character and in many horror movies the city adds to the film’s ambiance – you don’t just show a trolley car on Canal Street and go “there ya are kids – New Orleans!” Somehow this movie makes Nola look shiny and new – which it ain’t. The filmmakers really did a disservice to themselves by not including the heavy (and heady!) atmosphere of the Crescent City in their movie – it would have amped up the creepy factor and could have made for a better film.
It’s a shame, because director Victor Garcia – whose worked on visual effects for films – did create some nifty visuals here & there. Some of the kills are well done and there is some decent gore to be found here. The best scene in the entire film shows what the MirrorWorld looks like for the female spirit trapped inside and it’s fascinating. Not fascinating enough to give you any reason to sit through this dull flick though. Save your time and money – Aja’s movie is a far better film – and that’s saying a LOT.