Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Mirrors", "Vacancy 2" and "Solstice"

I know I said this blog was my opportunity to give my useless opinion on books I've read, but I'm still struggling my way through "Scream For Me". I'll read about 20 pages and start getting all sleepy. I think I need to be in the right frame of mind for beautiful, fragile heroines and handsome, alpha male FBI agents. In the meantime, I watched 3 (yes, three!) movies the other night.

"Mirrors" was the only theatrically released movie of the bunch and would you believe, easily the weakest. Basically, it didn't make one lick of sense. I like to believe I'm no dumbass, but I just couldn't figure out what the hell was going on and why the mirrors were able to get into Keifer Sutherland's house and make Amy Smart pull her jaw off. The script attempts to give some explanation at the end, but it didn't add up to much. On the other hand, actress Paula Patton played Sutherland's wife and she was very good. You could understand why she was wary of her husband and why she didn't believe his crazy stories about mirrors killing people. And when she sees with her own eyes that his rantings are true (in an admittedly spooky sequence), does she immediately deny what she's witnessed and start behaving like a total boob? No, she calls hubby straight away and gets him to help her protect the family. A strong, credible and likeable character. When she and family find themselves under siege from the mirror demon thingies in the finale, it's the best part of the film: creepy, suspenseful and intense. If the rest of the film had matched that intensity, it would have been a keeper. It still wouldn't have made any sense, but you can't have everything.

"Vacancy 2" is actually a prequel to the 2007 thriller starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale. In this tale, we learn the origins of the creepy folk who run the deadly motel and like to make snuff films of themselves killing and maiming their guests. A newly-engaged couple and their cliched black best friend (by the time he'd provided a second false scare I was more than ready for him to be offed) are offered up as the first sacrificial lambs to the motel owners who are after something more substantial than the voyeur sex videos they usually peddle. "Vacancy 2" doesn't do anything to turn the genre on its head or try to knock your socks off. It's a straight-down-the-line survivalist thriller that generally succeeds in what it's trying to do: provide a few thrills and spills, a little tension and a smattering of gore.

"Solstice" is a teen thriller in which a girl (Elisabeth Harnois) and a bunch of her friends arrive at her family home shortly after her twin sister's suicide. The festivies are interrupted by several spooky goings-on. Harnois thinks her dead sister is trying to communicate with her, while her buddies naturally think she's losing her marbles. I must admit it was quite a surprise to find a teen horror flick that doesn't butcher its nubile young cast. The emphasis here is firmly on suspense, atmosphere and mystery, and to be honest it was a refreshing change. While it's always nice to see beheadings, amputations and people vomiting blood, the opposite can sometimes be the case. "Solstice" has very little on-screen violence and on occasion even sent a chill or two down my spine - genuinely spooky at times! Of course, witnessing black ghosts with glowing eyes while curled up on the couch with no lights on can do that to me. All in all, a spooky, tidy little mystery that won't tax your brain and might just give you the heebie jeebies.


  1. How about a review of local horror attempt Zombie Brigade. (Planet has a VHS I think).


  2. Thanks! I had no idea there was a local horror film lurking about. I'll try and check it out - hopefully my Planet membership hasn't expired!

  3. I even worked on it. It is very bad, but not in a good way. If you want to stray into local Kung Fu genre, then another film I worked on Day of The Panther is much more amusing.

  4. I liked Mirrors! That scared the hell out of me. Also a bonus: was a horror movie without idiotic teenagers (smart ones take the bus instead of dodgy cars into the woods.) so that was cool. In my opinion the movie made complete sense and was all perfectly self contained. I quite enjoyed it and then decided not to spend too much time in front of relfective surfaces afterwards.

    I haven't seen any of the other movies though. (For good reason though... reason being they'll make me avoid whatever else seems to be a major source of fear in the movie.)