In the mood for something creepy, but want to be able to sleep easy after watching it? Dark Mirror is just what you’re looking for.
Note: Sorry for the lack of pictures in this review. I looked all over the place, and couldn’t find any decent screencaps from the movie.
Not to be confused with the excellent Star Trek novel or the 1946 film, Dark Mirror is a mid-budget horror production released by IFC Films. A photographer, her husband (a computer programmer), and her young son (who needs a good smacking) move into a new house. The perimeter of the house is surrounded with odd yet glorious looking glass windows. The woman begins to experience strange goings-on with the mirrors/windows in her house, and soon her camera begins to do very odd things as well. Is it in her head, or is it real? You’ll have to watch in order to find out.
To go out of the normal movie review order for a moment, here is, by far, the best thing about this movie: you know how in horror movies, you always guess something loooong before the characters in the movie do? Without fail, as soon as you guess something about what’s going on in this film and feel compelled to yell at the characters about how they aren’t getting it, the next scene shows them mentioning the very thing you wanted to yell at them about. This applies to everything from mundane details to large plot points. There was one particular plot point that had Brittnie and I looking at each other, saying “why doesn’t she realize this is happening?” When she finally says something about it to another character, it’s clear that she didn’t have a sudden epiphane; this was something that she realized a while ago, and only now is finding the courage to speak up about it. I like that…it gives the characters a level of intelligence not often seen in horror movies (although they do have their moments in this film, heh…)
Dark Mirror is mid-budget. That is, the special effects quality is decent, the actors are semi-well known, the script is passable, and the film itself feels more professional than your average independent film. The main character (played by Lisa Vidal) is in almost every scene in the movie. Her character is one that would normally be presented with a bit of cheesiness…although Vidal’s character does have a couple of scenes with the cheese factor amped up, she carries the movie really well. Her husband (played by David Chisum) is just sorta there throughout the film, although he does have one scene where his acting fangs are bared. Considering the script, the acting was about as good as it could be. Not too convincing, but not so lame as to remind you that you’re watching a movie.
The creep factor in this movie isn’t all that high. The few scenes with supernatural overtones could easily be construed as being in the character’s head (or are they?), and the whole situation (at least initially) relies on the fact that they are living in a specific house. These two details really derail the scary train, leaving you with some slight goosebumps, but that’s about it. Brittnie doesn’t normally handle horror well, but we watched it just before going to bed, and she had no problem falling asleep (guys with girlfriends/wives who aren’t into horror movies: reread that last sentence!)
No spoilers about the ending, but it does wrap up the loose ends quite nicely. It leaves things open for a sequel while still affirming what was really going on throughout the film. Some people may have a problem wraping their head around the details, but everyone will be able to agree on what happend overall once the lights come on.
If you’re looking for something super scary, prepare to be disappointed. However, if you want a psychological horror movie that’s light on both horror and psychological musings, this one is a great choice.