The Mirror

The Mirror
The Mirror

Director: Edward Boase
Writers: Edward Boase, Keidrych Wasley
Stars: Jemma Dallender, Joshua Dickinson, Nate Fallows

Way back in the early eighties, when my love of horror films was stimulated by Saturday night double bills on TV, one of the films that spooked me the most was From Beyond the Grave, a 1974 portmanteau film based on stories by R. Chetwynd-Hayes. The first story in this was The Gate Crasher, in which David Warner buys a haunted mirror from an antique shop and is possessed by the spirit of the spooky dude who lives on the other side of the lens. While the stories in portmanteau films tended towards – well – the silly, this was a genuinely scary little vignette (actually, From Beyond the Grave as a whole stands up as being one of the best of its type).

The 2014 film The Mirror is essentially a remake of that story, extended to an 88 minute running time. This time out the single protagonist has been opened out into a triptych of characters – wannabe filmmaker Steve (Nate Fallows), his flatmate Matt (Joshua Dickinson) and Matt’s girlfriend Jemma (Jemma Dallender) – and, rather than buying the haunted mirror from a dusty antique shop they get it from eBay. Their plan is to film some authentic ghost action, thereby winning the One Million Dollar Paranormal Prize offered by the James Randi Foundation. Needless to say, they’ve bitten off more than they can chew and the mirror isn’t only haunted, it’s dangerous.

As well as lacking in originality – it’s probably no coincidence that this came out not long after Mike Flanagan’s more effective Occulus – this is also (shudder) a found footage film. Note to filmmakers: please, no more found footage films, we’re bored to death of them, try something else instead (apart from Nazi zombies, which should be equally consigned to the dustbin of culture). In it’s favour, the performances by Fallows, Dickinson and Dallender (who also starred in Community) are pretty good and the dialogue has an authentic ring to it. But the story just isn’t interesting enough, let alone making almost no sense. Frankly speaking, you’re better off watching From Beyond the Grave instead.

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