An NYPD Command Unit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alcoholic NYPD cop Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) suspended for shooting a civilian, and now is living with his sister Angela Carson (Amy Smart), who is a day-shift bartender. Since his suspension, Ben has also been popping some prescription drugs for his anxiety, or depression perhaps? and he needs a job to supplement his family income? Wait, his wife, Amy Carson(Paula Patton) is a MD, Coroner … hello?! why he says he has to work and his pension is not enough to support his kids and wife?
Anyhoo, he gets a job working as a security guard for a burn-down department store in Manhattan that is still waiting for insurance settlement. Of course, it was a psychiatric hospital before… boo hoo, weird things must have happened there before as with any paranormal films. Damn hand prints are on the mirrors, and Ben can’t wipe them clean. Oooo…souls are trapped inside. Ben does one thing and the mirror image is doing something else. Hallucination perhaps with his drugs that he can’t see or think clear, or speak loud: Ben’s conversation with anyone is either quiet submissive or an outburst; nothing is in between.
Let’s step back a minute to the opening scene. Gary Lewis(Josh Cole) is running away, let me guess, from his own shadow or something scary. He goes into the locker room, first the lockers popped and shown the little mirror behind the locker doors, then he is in front of bigger joined mirrors on the wall. “Sorry, I didn’t clean you properly, I will, give me a chance” (something like that), he says. No, mirror is angry! crack itself, so that Gary’s image can get hold a piece of broken mirror, and you know and I know what happens next. I guess, the director(Alexandre Aja) – like his Haute Tension(2003) - is so proud of the special effect that he needs to show that to us again in clear view photo later in the morgue so to remind us that it is really a masterpiece. See the veins and arteries and the skin, wow!brilliant! The special effect with Angie is quite good too, wait, no, seen that in The Mummy(1999) before.
Anyhoo, we know the mirrors are bad, and whatever trapped inside travel as well, and it only targets the people who piss them off, like Ben and his family, cause he is going to find out the secret, despite he has no authority as a security guard, but once a NYPD, everything is still accessible, eh Bro! Can’t you see, he needs to save his family, he must continue with his detective work despite all. Well, his work leads him to The Texas Chainsaw massacre (1974)-ish house and people, and then a convent. Finally Ben finds the one who is responsible, so that she can sacrifice for his family. She agrees because…? See, The Exorcist (1973) gets it all wrong, the priests should have just gotten some mirrors to do the job right!! Afterall, it’s all smokes-and-mirrors, y’all know.
Of course, a big blow-up scene at the end. Ben is in the basement/tunnel that resembles the set for Aliens(1986) - flooded, gas pipes, water pipes, sewage pipes, who knows - and Ben even utters the trademark line from Aliens, “C’mon you Bitch!”.
Family saved, wife and two kids. Ben comes out of the rubble and building… no one seems to notice him. Why left is right and right is left? Boo Hoo.
Well, if you must, perhaps RENT!