Movie Review – The Mirror (2014)
The Mirror (2014) is a British found footage film that was written and directed by Edward Boase. Boase was inspired by a 2013 news article that told of a mirror being blamed for its owners’ run of bad luck. Made on a micro-budget of only £20,000, the story centers on three flat-mates who buy a purportedly haunted mirror on Ebay and set up cameras in the hopes of winning The James Randi Educational Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge, which until 2015 was a real challenge that offered one million dollars to whomever could scientifically demonstrate the paranormal. It was tool meant to debunk the validity of such claims and no one was able to successfully claim it.
Hoping to get rich quick, the three friends hang the unassuming mirror in their apartment and it isn’t long before one of them, Matt (Joshua Dickinson), begins sleepwalking and acting stranger and stranger. Essentially, this is the whole movie – we see Matt quietly wander the flat at night, sometimes being menacing, while those around him make profoundly stupid decisions. It becomes tedious and tiresome in equal measure, both from the film’s execution and from the thick-headedness of the characters. For instance, their apartment is broken into and they immediately blame the mirror instead of calling the cops, even though the front door was ajar when they returned and the mirror has thus far done nothing. Did the mirror trash the place and then run to the store for a pack of cigs? When their friend suddenly goes blind do they call an ambulance from the phone that is clearing mounted on the wall in the hallway? Nah, they just put him to bed and tell him to rest so they can fret endlessly about not knowing what to do.
Other questions abound: Do they work? Is Matt the only one who knows how to lock a door? Are they really going to run around the house panicking, searching for their lost and possibly homicidal friend with microphone equipment clipped to their pajamas?
So little happens with the lackluster mirror – I’ve seen creepier mirrors in Home Goods – that it becomes irritating each time they remind us it’s there and is supposedly causing these issues. We know that the mirror is, for the purposes of a horror film, supposed to be haunted, but this conclusion is continually reached through such asinine reasoning by the characters that they come to perfectly represent the very impressionable, superstitious people that The James Randi Educational Foundation seeks to expose and/or educate. I’m confident this was not the film’s intention. They may be right about the mirror because this is a horror film, but their methods in reaching this conclusion are anything but logical or reasonable. Consider their acquisition of the mirror – they purchase it on Ebay taking at face value the seller’s insistence that it’s haunted and then devote their time and resources to prove that unfounded claim. Clearly, they aren’t geniuses and would likely make very poor investment partners. With a little tweak to the script such as making the mirror a family heirloom with a legendary past their focus and dedication might have been a little easier to swallow.
While the actors do a decent job with what little they’re given, there’s nothing to recommend The Mirror. I applaud the filmmaker for making a movie with so few resources, but what is offered will be repetitive and stale to any but the newest of horror watchers. If you’ve seen the movie’s poster, you already know the lone possibly horrific scene in the movie. The same poster warns the potential viewer “Don’t Look…” That’s good advice.