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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

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Plot Overview

Gary Lewis (Josh Cole) pushing 30 is night watchman at the derelict Mayflower Building on 6th Avenue, New York City. It's so boring a job he augments it by polishing the department store mirrors. Some­thing in one of them spooks him and he takes off running, ending up in a subway locker room in Harlem where a mirror's image does a bloody number on him, along the lines of an Alfred Elwes novel: “She is a demonico, and would no more hesitate to put a knife into the Signorina than she would to stick a sheep” (234).

magic mirrorLewis's replacement is Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) a suspended NYC detective waiting to be reinstated but needing some­thing in the mean­time. The mirror reflects the fire that gutted the building, and Ben recounts the experience to his “little sister” Angela (Amy Smart) while she's tending bar in Queens. Her own place is full of houseplants and she bathes right after work to remove the stench of the job, so it's no wonder she shudders at Ben's description of feeling the heat and breathing the fumes. She advises him to get a different job. There's a mirror behind the bar. That night after work her bath­­room mirror image distends her jaw and drowns her in the tub. It's retribution for having a big mouth. The mirror entity wants to keep Ben.

monasteryBen confronts the mirror to learn that it really wants some­one named Esseker. Being an investigator he discovers there was a 12-year-old patient at St. Matthews Hospital, name of Anna Esseker (Adina Rapiteanu), who got misplaced after the hospital­—occupying the site of the Mayflower—was closed in 1952. He tracks her to St. Augustine's Monastery in Pennsylvania—where mirrors are forbidden—and drives there to inter­view her. We hear the monastery bells toll as he drives up being an echo of the tinkling bells at the start of the movie; they signify a new chapter.


Flashbacks of Anna's fits have me thinking she was demon possessed, but what do I know? Her grand­father Robert Esseker (Julian Glover) has it that, “every priest, doctor, healer came in from all over, but none could help her.” One a Dr. Kane diagnosed her as schizophrenic having “the false perception of … two distinct worlds. The real world, and the world inside a mirror.” She was treated in a mirror room in St. Matthews. Now years later sister Esseker (Mary Beth Peil) tells Carson, “Dr. Kane was wrong about his theory. There is no cure for schizo­phrenia, Mr. Carson. It was some­thing else.”

prayingFor its penchant for burning, slashing, and drowning, it's at least comparable to: (Matt. 17:14-17) “And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.”

discipleshipThey needed the big gun to take care of this one. (Matt. 17:18-20) “And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

praying(Matt. 17:21) “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Anna concedes, “I'm going to pray for you.” Having spent fifty-six years of self-denial (fasting) and prayer in the monastery, she confidently enters the demon's lair and prays the rosary with her eyes closed. Ben had started on Sixth Avenue, outpacing the fast walking New Yorkers on his way to work, but when the dust settles we see him lurching through a Village Potempkin, dazed, dead, or undead, depending on which ending you opt for.

Production Values

” (2008) was co-written and directed by Alexandre Aja, being a remake of the South Korean super­natural horror movie, “Into the Mirror.” Its credited writers are Alexandre Aja, Grégory Levasseur and Sung-ho Kim. It stars Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton and Amy Smart. Sutherland was over­acting. The rest of the acting was good except for one bit part with the best line (“That's seven years bad luck.”)

MPAA rated it R for strong violence, disturbing images, language and brief nudity. The fires looked phony, but other­wise the special effects were top notch. The split camera images were dizzying. The sound track was orchestral. The film was gory and the extended cut gorier. Runtime is 1 hour 51 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

The plot was biblically demonic and the heroine a praying nun. The lead was a sympathetic character going through a rough patch. New York was an appealing city despite every­thing. The horror was not over­played despite the oriental origins of the original. I consider it a satisfying horror movie, but tastes may vary.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Made for late night viewing. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Elwes, Alfred. Perils Afloat and Brigands Ashore. London: Cassell & Company, Limited, 1886. Print.