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Hal MacDermot [Celluloid 05.06.09] movie review horror

Year: 2007
Directors: Pablo Proenza
Writers: Pablo Proenza and Matthew Reynolds
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: cyberhal
Rating: 5 out of 10

I would like to thank first time director Mr. Proenza, from the bottom of my heart, for the scene in which the incredibly tasty Tammy (Christine Lakin) stands in her bikini, holding a pistol in her hand, and play acts a heist: cheers mate, here’s to you, won't forget it. Beyond that, and except for an excellent last 15 minutes, Dark Mirror is an unoriginal and not at all scary supernatural suspense involving:

1. Mirrors
2. An evil presence behind the aforesaid mirrors.
3. A newly moved in family, only one of whom sees the spooky stuff.

Photographer-by-trade Deborah (Lisa Vidal), husband (David Chisum) and son have moved into a new house to which Debs is strangely attracted. In the bathroom, she finds two opposing mirrors reflecting to infinity, and she shoots off her camera and flash with (un)expected results. Once the flash goes off, Deborah starts to notice that everyone she takes pictures of ends up disappearing or dying. Also, she has some very strange neighbors. Actually, I think this movie was shot down the road from me in the Venice Beach, LA, which is totally packed with loonies, so I don’t know why Deborah is surprised that her neighbours are cream crackers.

As things get strange, Deborah gets a visit from her Mum, who although seemingly friendly, might actually be dead. Beware of advice from possibly dead people! We then learn that the house was previously owned by an artist, Mr. Rupert Wells, and that he and his family all mysteriously disappeared one day. Hey, just like in Haunting in Connecticut (but less scary)! Or was that Aja’s Mirrors? So many films with mirrors in these days. There’s also a totally random point about Feng Shui and glass keeping bad/good things in/out of houses, I suppose that’s the Venice Beach influence again. On a performance level, Vidal does a pretty good job with a weak script; her job is to be the woman who sees crazy stuff, and who everyone thinks is crazy. The story continues in much of a muchness until the point where Deborah wakes up tied-up in a chair, and then it get interesting. There’s a strange connection between Deborah and the presence behind the mirror, twists and turns all over the place. I don’t want to spoil it, just on the off-chance you’ll see this, but it has to do with the story of the original Dark Mirror (1946), a film noir by Robert Siodmak in which “a woman suspected of murdering her doctor boyfriend has an identical twin sister.” Incidentally, the original sounds very cool indeed and also stars Olivia de Havilland.

Not much more to say about this not spooky and somewhat lame movie. The lighting FX are pretty good, with many atmospheric shots of sunbeams and light through glass. The SFX are okay, my fave being the camera flash going off into the infinite mirrors right at the beginning. I recommend you rent the movie, watch the first five minutes, watch the last 15, and then go back and watch Christine in her bikini with a gun in her hand.

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