Into The Mirror (2003)

DVD Cover (UK)
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Overall Rating 64%
Overall Rating
Ranked #6,311
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Connections: Into The Mirror

Woo Yeong-min retired from the police force after trying to save his partner and causing his death. After a series of mysterious deaths in the shopping mall in which his uncle has allowed him to work as a security guard prior to its reopening, he must face both his own fear of mirrors and the mystery surrounding the fire that closed down the mall. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: March 1, 2007
Hey, check this out! It's an Asian film that just so happens to be slated for an American remake! I am just so shocked to hear that, because you know that it's such a rarity for Hollywood to snap up these foreign films and destroy them in the name of a quick buck. However, I must admit that I do have semi-high hopes for this remake due to the fact that Alexandre Aja is directing it, but still: aren't there any original ideas left in Hollywood? Aja is a brilliant director, but I wish that he'd do something other than remakes for a change.

Getting down to the movie at hand, we find ourselves with yet another tale of ghostly women who just so happen to have long, flowing black hair. This particular ghost happens to haunt a shopping mall called Dreamtopia, a mall in which a former cop named Woo Yeong-Min (Ji-tae Yu) is the security chief. Mixing together the traditional Asian ghost with just a dash of the Bloody Mary urban legend, this ghost kills her victims by either coming through the mirror and doing it directly, or showing the victim a mirrored reflection of themselves in which the person in the mirror kills him or herself, causing the "real" version of the person to die in a similar fashion. The cops think that a serial killer is on the loose here and believe that it's tied to the protesting people outside who claim that they weren't fairly compensated for their injuries during a fire which occurred inside this mall a year ago, but Woo knows that something supernatural is to blame. With the help of a woman named Lee Ji-Hyeon (Hye-na Kim) who may or may not be connected to the haunting, Woo sets out to get to the bottom of these killings and put an end to this haunting once and for all.

On the surface, this would appear to be just another Asian ghost movie, and to a certain extent, it is. What separates it from the rest, however, is the mirror gimmick and the excellent visual effects used throughout the film. I'm not one to typically judge a movie based solely on the effects, but this film is an absolute feast for the eyes thanks to whatever effect director Seong-Ho Kim used to create these mirror sequences. Take, for example, the opening scene in which a woman meets her grisly end in a bathroom (a scene which served as inspiration for the UK DVD cover). This woman stands in front of a mirror, rummages through her purse, plays with her phone, takes a call, washes her hands - you know, the usual "woman in a bathroom" stuff. Throughout all of this, we see the woman from behind while seeing her front reflected in the mirror. Then, the woman drops something and bends down to pick it up... and the reflection in the mirror, instead of moving along with the woman, remains standing before glaring down at the "real" woman. I actually had to rewind this to see just how this trick was pulled off, as it's done in one shot and never once comes across as fake or computer-generated. This sort of thing happens repeatedly throughout the movie, and it doesn't take long before the viewer starts to pay attention to the key saying of the movie: "Things aren't always what they seem."

Judging this based purely on the visual effects, I'd have to give it a perfect score; however, that's not the way things work around here, and as such, I did find a few faults with the film that will bring down my final rating. The main thing that hurt this movie, in my ever so humble opinion, is that there were numerous scenes which could have been cut or edited out entirely in order to make a tighter, more coherent film. There are a number of scenes which serve no real purpose, and in fact, some of these actually make the storyline more confusing than it already was. This is one of those movies in which the storyline makes no sort of sense up until the final revelations, and having a handful of scenes that make things even more confusing (and not in a "red herring" sort of way) was definitely not a good thing. Then there's the fact that, at its core, this is yet another long-haired, female ghost story, so you should probably figure out just how sick of those you're getting before plunking down your cash.

Overall though, I was fairly satisfied with the film, and even though there were a few clichéd moments to be found, I felt that it brought enough fresh material to the table to adequately set itself apart from the flood of Ringu imitators. It's not a perfect film, but it's definitely worth a viewing if you're not completely sick of the genre yet. 7/10.
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