Anyone who is looking for a direct sequel to the 2008 sleeper hit with Kiefer Sutherland or even a connection to the original Asian ghost film might tend to be disappointed in the direct-to-video Mirrors 2. This is absolutely one of those films where the name is used merely because of its franchise value, and the film’s associations are mostly just a few familiar names. Add the same basic idea of a haunted mirror at the center of it all, and you pretty much have all of the connections this movie makes to either of the original projects. With that said, there is a bit more to like about Mirrors 2 than you might suspect on the surface.
This time it’s Nick Stahl who plays a down-on-his-luck security guard at another branch of the Mayflower Department Store. He is Max, who has been dealing with a great deal of guilt of late. His fiancée was killed in an auto accident by a drunk driver. But Max was driving and wasn’t paying attention to the road. He was playing a game of “find the ring” with his girlfriend when the tragedy occurred. As it turns out, Max’s father (Katt) is the owner of the Mayflower Department Store, which is about to reopen its doors in New Orleans. The previous night watchman cut himself quite severely and quit his job, apparently going crazy during a night shift. Of course, we saw what really happened. It was an image in the main mirror that caused his injuries. The grand opening has been plagued with mishaps. Eleanor Reigns (Honore) has been missing for several weeks. Max discovers her spirit in the store mirror on his first night on the job. He also sees a vision of the store’s executive buyer, Jenna (Romano) lose her head, literally. Later that night, he discovers that the woman really was decapitated by a shower door. He begins to see other prophetic images and decides something is seriously wrong here.
Max tracks down the missing girl’s sister Elizabeth (Vaugier). At first she doesn’t believe that he’s seen Eleanor in the mirror, but she’s a sucker for the guy’s angst and good looks. She helps him to investigate farther. Together they uncover the truth about what happened to Eleanor and believe her spirit is inhabiting this mirror world attempting to seek vengeance on those who treated her badly.
The name of the store is the same as the original, but the location has moved from New York to New Orleans. Obviously the lower budget had a lot to do with the move. The mirror scenes are less elaborate, and you won’t find quite as much action or explosions in this film. But credit director Victor Garcia for making his budget stretch. The effects might not be as frequent, but they are quite convincing. Much of this is computer-generated, but the team pulls off a number of impressive practical effects to enhance the experience. With much less at his disposal, it appears that Garcia was able to make enough of it count that the film is just as effective as the original American film, at least.
All of the actors here work quite well. There’s good chemistry between Stahl and his co-star Emmanuelle Vaugier. They are able to use some of the romantic tension without having to fall into each other’s arms. I like this kind of character build. There’s no time wasted on the distraction of a romance. It’ often steals the realism from a film. Garcia manages to keep his movie firmly rooted in the believable. It works to such effect that it’s easier to accept the supernatural aspects of the story because the rest of it is real enough. All of the characters have developed personalities even if we don’t know them for long and they are obvious ghost fodder. Christy Romano is such a charming character that even though we really don’t get to know her, her brutal death has a powerful impact. It doesn’t hurt that the effects team here really did their jobs. It looks like it’s not safe to go anywhere near a shower once again. It was a joy to see William Katt. Most fans will never forget him as The Greatest American Hero. His role is small but pretty important here. He’s showing his age, but he still has that grin that made him so lovable as Ralph.
The story might not break any new ground; in fact it absolutely doesn’t. Still, it moves at a nice pace and delivers between the f/x shots where it really counts. You don’t get the feeling that most of the movie is just filler, waiting for the next spectacular kill. The cinematography is atmospheric, and even though we can make some pretty safe early bets on where all of this is going, we welcome the ride. There are the stock elements, to be sure. They couldn’t resist the psychologist who happens to know a ton about mirror mythology. But, contrary to what the title says, this movie isn’t about mirrors at all. It’s a good old fashioned ghost-vengeance story. With all of that broken glass, how can it help but be somewhat sharp as well?
Mirrors 2 is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/MPEG-4 codec at an average of only 17 mbps. The shooting of this film was quite impressive. Every penny of the budget made it to the screen. The image is crystal clear and provides a ton of detail. The mirror f/x scenes are quite impressive and hold up to high-definition scrutiny. My only complaint is that this is a single-layer disc with a very limited bit rate for high definition. You shouldn’t find any compression issues on a Blu-ray, but there are minor ones here. There isn’t a ton of color here. There appears to be a stylistic choice to tone down the colors, opting for a lot of paleness even in the flesh tones.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is pretty straightforward for the most part. There are some wonderful sound effects, mostly dealing with crunched or shattered glass. It’s enough to give you somewhat of an immersive experience. While the sound field appears contained in the front and center, it is nonetheless quite clear and often dynamic. Dialog is fine at all times.
Bonusview: This is an option that allows you to see the film from the mirror’s perspective at times. It’s clever enough, but it didn’t really add to the experience for me.
The Other Side – Making Mirrors 2: (9:39) Cast and crew offer up the usual information here. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes footage to be found. There really isn’t much talk about the previous films at all.
Keeping It Real: (12:33) This is a nice look at the various f/x of the film. You have to give these guys a ton of credit. This stuff looks like it had a much larger budget than it really did.
Deleted Scenes: (2:08) There are 2.
There’s a lot to like here, and I highly recommend you give it a look. I don’t think you’ll find a weakness in the whole thing. There’s a solid story that moves along at a good pace. The characters are all believable. The kills are original enough with some of the best f/x I’ve seen recently. I’ve seen enough of these things to be completely jaded. Not to mention the cynic in me whenever I see these unrelated direct-to-video sequels that hope to cash in on another film without actually taking anything from that film. This one is guilty on all counts, but they managed to put together a film “that would even impress yours truly”.