before i begin all my ranting and raging here, let me first say that, thus far in my horror fandom, i have heralded alexandre aja as the best filmmaker of the modern horror genre. in fact, aja's HIGH TENSION and THE HILLS HAVE EYES both share spots in my top five favorite horror films of all times. i also highly enjoyed P2 - a brilliant number he cowrote with writers from the previously mentioned films. alexandre aja - pictured above with keifer sutherland - though completely unrelenting with his physical violence, uses film to explore the grander sectors of pure psychological terror in the most mentally messed-up situations imaginable. admittedly, aja's films showcase a great deal of gore; however, his tension strings most tautly through elements of music, lighting, plot pacing, solidarity of actors, and surprise. alexandre aja's films are very real, very wild, and very shocking. usually, even on repeated viewings, i walk away from aja's films completely exhausted, needing a cold beer and a long nap. that's the trademark of a good filmmaker for me.
john barber and i talked in length recently about the cautious love we share for horror films. we agreed that the secret to successfully enjoying horror resides in knowing where to draw your lines. for each person, the boundaries of cinema stretch in different places. for instance, my wife enjoys crime dramas, gangster films, and "bang-bang-shoot-em-up" action flicks, but prefers to not see too much actuality in the physical violence - particularly towards women.
for the purpose of this review - while this may seem quite vague at the moment - i will simply say that alexandre aja's most recent film - MIRRORS - a remake of the south korean horror film INTO THE MIRROR, crossed every horror film boundary i have set in stone. this film was just a little too much of everything i try to avoid: particularly imagery, sounds, and themes dealing with demonic possession and demonic manifestation. from the previews, i expected MIRRORS to share a camp cabin with the other popular asian remakes of the day, such as THE GRUDGE, THE RING, SHUTTER, etc. etc. etc, etc. --- but aja broke completely free from the current sub-genre, creating something utterly demonic and overly inappropriate. i did not like this film. i will never recommend this film to anyone. and i am sad that it achieved any amount of box office success whatsoever.
one last thing in a totally downer post: i have recently asked the Lord for courage to approach dumbass parents who buy tickets to R-rated movies for their seven and eight year olds. for the life of me, i cannot understand why people do this. i walked into theatre number 7 to see MIRRORS, and walked back out to double check i had not mistakenly walked into a showing of SPACE CHIMPS. three seats down from me was an entire family - the oldest child was maybe nine, the youngest was no older than six. this is not okay. and i felt just as sad that the kids were in the theatre as i did about not saying anything to the parents.
back to the discussion at hand, john and i both agreed that our favorite horror films are campy, ridiculous, off-the-wall, and completely fun to watch. the scares should come in the unexpected and shocking, not in the exploitation of souls and flesh. our goal in this genre is to laugh and occasionally squirm, not to actually lose any sleep. and we both agreed, if this means we are not "true" fans of the genre (whatever that means), then so be it. we've never exactly been the cool kids on the playground anyway.
i give MIRRORS zero burt down department stores out of five. this film was purely unfortunate and unnecessary. tell your friends - see SPACE CHIMPS instead.