French director Alexandra Aja came to wider recognition with his 2003 slasher movie 'Switchblade Romance (Haute Tension)'. One of the best horrors in years, it offered plenty of gore but also the one thing that's become a lost art in the genre, suspense. And while the ending was poor, there was more than enough to say Aja's career would be worth following.
His next film was a remake of Wes Craven's 'The Hill's Have Eyes', which had plenty of mayhem but lacked the edge of its predecessor. 'The Hills Have Eyes', however, looks like a masterpiece compared to 'Mirrors', another one of those chillers that makes your blood boil.
Sutherland plays Ben Carson, a former NYPD detective whose life has fallen apart after his fatal accidental shooting of a fellow officer. He has been forced to move out of the family home, is taking medication to try to control his drinking, is prone to emotional outbursts and feels his entire life is dependent on being reinstated to the force.
As he tries to make ends meet, Carson takes a job as a security guard at the ruins of the Mayflower department store, which burned down some years earlier with the loss of over 70 lives. Patrolling the gutted building seems like a very routine job, but it's not long before Carson begins to notice strange things with the still pristine mirrors inside - and then finds that no-one will believe his story.
With '24' Sutherland is one of the biggest stars on the small screen, but he needs to be a lot choosier about what he signs up for on the big one - even the most ardent fan of him and '24' will find 'Mirrors' a waste of time. It's bewildering that this was the best he could come up with on his time off from the show (he also executive produced) and even more of a mystery how Aja (who also co-wrote) could turn in something so run-of-the-mill.
Like many before it, 'Mirrors' begins promisingly and the Argento-like look of the Mayflower ruins is superb. But once Sutherland's character realises he won't need a can of Mr Sheen, things fall apart. Aja rushes scenes, the scares are well telegraphed, it gets too ridiculous (a detective only too happy to provide information, a nun taken at gunpoint) and the ending is so drawn out your thoughts may actually turn to housework.
Those who jump during films will jump at this; others have frightened themselves more looking in the mirror in the morning.