Synopsis: Attempting to pick up the shattered pieces of his life, a disgraced former cop (Keifer Sutherland) takes a job guarding the ruins of a once-famous department store. But the terrifying images he sees in the store’s ornate mirrors will send him on a pulse-pounding mission to unravel the secrets of the building’s past….before they destroy his entire life!
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Wow… what a reheat: we’ve seen this story many times in various forms before and this version doesn’t bring anything new to the table. This was a “Screenwriting For Dummies” movie: the writers took the common elements from all of Hollywood’s middle-of-the-road cop/mystery films and built their script around them. It doesn’t make the movie bad, really, it just makes it formulaic enough to be utterly uninteresting.
Essentially, it felt like an extra long TV show episode with better production values.
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-The set design was impressive. I’m curious to know what they dressed up and what they built (but not curious enough to watch the special features!), because there’s a lot of work done there – not just in the massive burned down shopping centre (which is the main set), but also in every other set. It’s all in the details, and there’s plenty.
-The soundtrack is phenomenal. Whenever there’s a need for atmospheric music or for sound effects, this soundtrack delivers like mad; it’ll test your sound system, if you have one.
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-Paula Patton, who plays the wife: I don’t know what it is… there’s just something about her (Fire? Spunk?). I would love to see her in something else and figure it out.
-Mary Beth Peil, who plays Anna Esseker: For some inexplicable reason, she stood out. It was a bit part, really, but it’s as though the film “opened up” when she was on screen.
-Kiefer Sutherland, who plays our lead: He reminded me of Bruce Willis, but without that endearing side that Willis tends to have. It’s a role that could actually have been written for him. Instead we got Bruce Willis-lite.
There’s not much I can say about this film, because there’s so much déjà vu, other than it’s the kind of horror film I abhor: all its scares are derived from jolts – there’s no true psychological terror, ’cause that requires time to build. There were so many of these jolts, that it was impossible for a build up to happen. In fact, the lame attempts at scares could be so clichéd that I half expected a cat to be thrown at someone at some point. And while the soundtrack was impressive during these scenes, the rest of the time, it’s as though they couldn’t really be bothered. That gives you an idea of where the filmmakers’ priorities were
So it’s not a complete waste of time, but it’s not a film that I would tend to watch again. If you want to show off a sound system, this has enough thrills to do the trick. However, there are plenty of demo-worthy discs with superior films on them to let this one take up shelf-space.
Except for one thing: the ending, the last 90 seconds. As unoriginal as it is, I didn’t see it coming – and I thought it was.. kinda cool, actually.