‘Mirrors’ – Objects in film may be scarier than they appear

‘Mirrors’ – Objects in film may be scarier than they appear

Kiefer Sutherland stars in Mirrors

Kiefer Sutherland began his acting career in films like “The Lost Boys” and “Flatliners.” Now, it seems he’s a much better fit for small screen projects.

The star of Fox’s “24″ tried to restart his film career anew (2006’s “The Sentinel” didn’t do the trick) with “Mirrors,” out Jan. 13 on DVD.

Critics pounced on the film during its theatrical run, but like Sutherland himself it’s a far better fit for the reduced expectations of home viewing.

Sutherland stars as Ben Carson, a former cop trying to process how he accidentally shot and killed a fellow officer. He takes a gig as a security guard for a burned-out old building, a job that gives him way too much time to get lost in his own thoughts while his police reinstatement process trudges forward.

The building also provides some terrific set design potential as well as a peek into the film’s scare tactics. The mirrors in the building are playing tricks on Ben, showing him things that can’t possibly be real. But is the frazzled ex-cop going mad, or are the mirrors truly threatening both him and his family?

Director Alexandre Aja (“High Tension,” “The Hills Have Eyes”) maximizes the chills in an otherwise silly premise – the latest inspiration from the world of Asian horror flicks. Watch out, Ben! It’s another mirror — and it’s got a beveled edge!

And while some supernatural flicks try our patience with their logic-busting storylines, “Mirrors” makes a valiant effort to piece together just why the mirrors are playing tricks on Ben. It doesn’t always work, but let’s give “Mirrors” an atta boy just for trying.

Sutherland is just fine here, flashing that Jack Bauer temper at times while keeping us engaged in his character’s predicament. it’s hardly a star turn but rather a solid performance from a veteran who we know not to expect too much from. In horror circles, that’s more than adequate for the chore at hand.

“Mirrors” serves up one killer murder scene and an ending that provides a nice kick for the genre. In between, it’s standard horror fare – pedestrian subplots and a menacing score.

It’s easy to imagine “Mirrors” disappointing when shown in a hushed theater, but in the privacy of one’s home the horror flick punches the clock with admirable efficiency.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

DebbieNo Gravatar January 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm

“Tried to jumpstart his movie career here”. He actually starred with Michael Douglas in the Sentenal a couple of years before Mirrors. Please know what you are talking about before you post something. Anyway i feel the critics were much too harsh on this movie. and im not saying it was fantastic. loved the fire sceen. It actually has grossed about 75 million which is better than most horror movies and other movies in general.

DebbieNo Gravatar January 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm

oops you actually used the work “restart” either way your wrong.

cftotoNo Gravatar January 4, 2009 at 4:49 pm

“Sentinel” was a more direct way to play off of Sutherland’s “24″ fame. It bombed … and deservedly so. I used the word “restart” since “Mirrors” was his latest effort to resuscitate his film career. I should have been more clear about this, though, and I’ve changed the post. Thanks for steering me in the right direction.

jicNo Gravatar January 5, 2009 at 3:49 pm

It actually has grossed about 75 million which is better than most horror movies and other movies in general.

The usually reliable Box Office Mojo. says that it grossed just over $73M worldwide. They don’t list a budget, but the slightly less reliable but still pretty good IMDb says it’s about $35M. If that figure is anywhere close to accurate, then Mirrors did Not do well. It probably didn’t even cover its costs.

cftotoNo Gravatar January 5, 2009 at 3:58 pm

The $30 mil domestic b.o. isn’t bad … but it still didn’t do much to make Sutherland a film star again.

DebbieNo Gravatar January 5, 2009 at 9:09 pm

cftoto – thanks for clarification on your post. :)

jic – i did say about 75 million in my post i wasnt quoting an exact figure. well by my math even if you deduct 35 mil from slightly less than 73 mil (to quote you) you still made a profit. I remember Variety listing The Sentenal as making about 76 mil and it fell right in the middle of box office totals for the year. I did say it did better than most horror movies based on going back thru Box Office mojo and camparing horror movies off the top of my head. definitely not a great movie but not terrible. personally i wish he would let someone else pick the movies he does. I also understand that with his schedule he is limited in what he can do. oh my i certainly have gone on here. so sorry

cftotoNo Gravatar January 5, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Debbie, thanks for keeping me on my toes … please keep at it!

jicNo Gravatar January 6, 2009 at 2:10 am

well by my math even if you deduct 35 mil from slightly less than 73 mil (to quote you) you still made a profit.

It doesn’t work like that. The production budget doesn’t include marketing and distribution costs, and the box office figures don’t subtract the theaters’ share. The general rule of thumb is that a movie has to make back two to three times its production budget at the domestic box office before it goes into profit. Remember that since we are talking about worldwide box office, we have to factor in distribution and marketing costs for several countries. As I said, if the production costs given by the IMDb are accurate, the movie likely lost money.

DebbieNo Gravatar January 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

well IMDb is notoriously wrong. and according to Variety it did okay.

DebbieNo Gravatar January 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

that would also mean that everymovie below the Sentinal lost money and that would be a huge list

jicNo Gravatar January 6, 2009 at 1:26 pm

well IMDb is notoriously wrong.

That’s overstating it, but I said from the beginning that their figures could be wrong.

that would also mean that everymovie below the Sentinal lost money

Not if their production budgets were small enough, and some movies have very small promotional budgets. But yes, it’s likely that many did lose at least a little money.

DebbieNo Gravatar January 6, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Well Hollywood better change what they are doing if all of those movies lost money. So i still disagree with you and i guess we will just leave it at that.

jicNo Gravatar January 7, 2009 at 12:19 am

Well Hollywood better change what they are doing if all of those movies lost money.

See, we don’t disagree at all!

But I didn’t say that “all of those movies lost money”, I said that “it’s likely that many did lose at least a little money”. Not really the same thing.

DebbieNo Gravatar January 7, 2009 at 1:56 am

Those movies listed were the top grossing movies of the year so i dont see how any of them could have lost money.

jicNo Gravatar January 7, 2009 at 3:40 am

Those movies listed were the top grossing movies of the year so i dont see how any of them could have lost money.

The same way that any movie does: by costing more to make, market and distribute than it earns at the box office.

jicNo Gravatar January 7, 2009 at 3:50 am

By the way, Box Office Mojo says that The Sentinel was the 88th highest grossing movie of 2006. Mirrors was the 91st highest grossing movie of 2008. I can’t say for certain that either movie lost money, but surely you can see how two movies so far down the chart could?

jicNo Gravatar January 7, 2009 at 3:51 am
DebbieNo Gravatar January 7, 2009 at 11:29 am

if your on a list of top grossing movies surely they have already taken in any expenses. and i was going by variety’s list not box office mojo for top grossing.

hhmmm do you by any chance go to any of the other 24 or Kiefer sites because im getting the feeling i have had this discussion before.

jicNo Gravatar January 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm

if your on a list of top grossing movies surely they have already taken in any expenses.

The list is “top grossing”, not ‘most profitable’. gross is ‘raw’ income without deductions.

hhmmm do you by any chance go to any of the other 24 or Kiefer sites because im getting the feeling i have had this discussion before.

You may well have, but not with me.

DebbieNo Gravatar January 7, 2009 at 10:00 pm

well this is the bottom line for me. As far as Mirrors goes it made approx 73 mil. If we go with the budget that you found on imdb of 35 mil that leaves approx 38 mil left. if you have any documentation regarding other costs i would be happy to reconsider but until you do its a non issue.

jicNo Gravatar January 8, 2009 at 1:21 am

Here’s an article I found. To quote:

For a bare profit, that $200 million film then has to return $85
million or so in domestic box office. (Since that would translate to
another $170 million in money from other sources.) $85 million + $170
million = $255 million, slightly above the $250 million negative plus
advertising plus distribution cost we’d estimated. But, remember,
we’re only getting half the money, so for an $85 million domestic
return, we need a $170 million gross. That’s not quite its negative
cost, but it’s in the ballpark. If you assume they’d have to spend
more on advertising such a big film, or you’re going to strike a whole
lot more prints, the revenue requirement goes up a bit.

As I said, roughly two to three times its production budget at the domestic box office (depending on marketing and distribution costs).

DebbieNo Gravatar January 8, 2009 at 2:20 am

again, if you can show me the numbers of additional costs i might give your opinion some merit but i still havent seen any figures pertaining to Mirrors or The Sentinal. sorry :(

jicNo Gravatar January 8, 2009 at 2:40 am

I’ve shown you an article about how these things work, and I see no reason that either movie should be an exception. Since I doubt that the exact information you want is available to the general public, there really is no point to discussing this any further. If you want to believe that Mirrors made a $38M profit, that’s fine with me.

DebbieNo Gravatar January 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm

exactly no point in further discussion.

inane in the membraneNo Gravatar January 15, 2009 at 7:45 am

well… that was interesting.. jic–i sort of feel sorry for you. somehow, you managed to engage a complete moron in an internet argument..

but seriously, i would’ve given up a long time ago, right after debbie tried to flame you using broken logic and no source citations, and right before you responded by presenting evidence of your claim and demonstrating understanding of the difference between net and gross income.

in the real world, your argument would’ve worked. but this is the internet, and debbie’s apparently bored….

jicNo Gravatar January 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Her replies gave me just enough hope that I could change her mind to keep me going. It’s unfair to call her “a complete moron”, but her mind was closed on the subject from the beginning, and I should have realised that sooner.

cftotoNo Gravatar January 15, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Thanks, JIC … I really prefer people don’t name call each other here and I appreciate you coming to Debbie’s defense.

jicNo Gravatar January 15, 2009 at 2:22 pm

No problem. Debbie didn’t call me names to my face, so I’m not going to call her names behind her back.

DebbieNo Gravatar January 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm

omg really? I’m closed minded because i have my own opinion and you have not shown me any proof otherwise? Lord what is this world coming to.

innane in the membrane – it is people like you who turn people off from engaging in conversation. why can’t if have my opinion while someone else has another?

well you all are just too smart for me thats for sure.

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