The recently released Kiefer Sutherland vehicle, Mirrors, is not worth your time and money. Don't even bother renting it on DVD.
The good parts can be summarized in terms of Kieferlishousness: Kiefer; Kiefer's whisper; Kiefer in wet jeans; and Kiefer saying, "Dammit!" I suppose some might also like it for the on-display cleavage of the unknown co-star, Paula Patton, in a low-cut and/or wet t-shirt.
Her cleavage has promise. Her acting? Jury's still out. She might have sucked because the lines she had to say were so bad.
Oh, and I'll also give the movie credit for a creeptastic setting, in the fire-damaged department store with mannequins that add atmospheric trepidation.
The bad parts: everything else.
Mirrors starts with suspense, horror, and enough gore to make me cover my eyes. Then we meet Kiefer, a suspended cop sleeping on his sister's couch. He's taking medication, he's got stubble, and he's sad. I immediately wanted to cuddle with him.
Director Alexandre Aja establishes that Amy Smart is Kief's sister by having him call her "sis." Who does that? And then he re-establishes it 20 minutes later by having Amy remind Kiefer, with her hands pressed to the side of his face like a lover, that she's his little sister. "You can talk to me," she pleads with him, "I'm your little sister." Um, yeah. We got it the first time.
Much of the dialogue follows this format--awkward, unlikely interchanges that are supposed to help us know the characters better but in fact only serve to remind us that the characters have not been developed sufficiently to be knowable. Especially the dialogue between Kiefer and his estranged wife, the pulchritudinous Paula Patton, was apparently lifted straight from a romance novel book jacket.
Even the music was cliche: A high piano note plinked deliberately--plink, plink, plink--then gradually faster--plink-plink-plink-plink--when Director Aja wanted us to feel increasing tension.
The mirrors in Mirrors reflect enough gore and horror to more than earn the R-rating. Amy Smart's gruesome self-dismemberment clinched it: what Aja lacked in actual story, he'd make up in shock and cheap "boo!"s. (I doubt if I punctuated that right. Please don't report me to the punctuation police.)
There's a twist at the end that makes me think that the movie contains the germ of a good idea--but I was left going, "Huh?" I'm pretty sure that's not what the story-teller was going for.
Even when a movie is bad, something good can come out of it. Sometimes that good is a clever review. I did not read any reviews before seeing Mirrors (I should have; I learned my lesson), but I read a bunch on Rotten Tomatoes afterward. My favorite line is this one, from Peter Sobczynski of EFilmCritic.com:
"...while watching it won't necessarily lead to seven years of bad luck, it does make for a fairly aggravating 110 minutes."
Consider yourself warned.