Dark Mirror (2007)
Written and directed by Pablo Proenza
Co-written by Matthew Reynolds
Dark Mirror is a well acted, indie horror thriller with a likeable cast and interesting premise. However, as the film progresses, several plot threads emerge that do not bind well together and ultimately leave an untidy, incoherent mess that leaves the viewer scrambling for an absolute answer. For the most part, Dark Mirror provides glimpses into the spirit world, mystic Chinese glass and parallel dimensions but without a solid grip or explanation for any of these results in its downfall. This is not a bad movie but one that could have been a lot more if the film’s creators had used one plot instead of a handful.
Lisa Vidal takes control as the housewife-cum-photographer who’s husband Jim, played by David Chisum, is working long hours, neglecting both her and their young son Ian (Joshua Pelegrin). Lisa is a capable actress who presents the frustrated mother in a sympathetic light. After taking a photograph in the bathroom, Deborah starts to notice things that aren’t there. For instance, when looking into the mirror she sees the reflection of not one doorway but two. However he room only contains one of the doorways, with the other having a brick wall in its place instead. Deborah convinces her husband Jim to look in the mirror to observe the strange illusion but confesses to not seeing the mystical doorway she can. Fearing she’s loosing it, Deb is enlightened when her mother comes to visit and together they discover things about the house’s past that have long been kept a secret. Deb is far from alone in her neighbourhood with creepy old neighbour Mrs Yoshida constantly peeping through the curtains at her and the other neighbours, including bimbo Tammy (Christine Lakin) who fantastises about how she is an actress, singer and basically a superstar all rolled into one. Tammy loves herself and flaunts her assets in a bikini and whilst she practices yoga in the full view of an open window. Spotting her new neighbour, Tammy invites Deborah around for cocktails and learns that Deborah fears she’s being stalked, but reassures her with her own tales of being stalked. “It’s L.A.!”, Tammy remarks. Clearly everyone in LA is stalked by hooded figures, according to delusional Tammy. Regardless of Tammy’s comments, Deb still feels uneasy, especially after an arrogant, cock-sure interviewer, from a job interview she appeared at, suddenly goes missing. When other people she’s photographed start to disappear, Deborah starts to fear links between the missing and her DSLR.
The way in which Dark Mirror is shot is quite straight and steady without the sudden cuts used in recent horror films, for which my eyesight and brain is most thankful for. The sense of dread and suspense could have been worked more and felt quite rushed and a let down when it was delivered. I do admire the camera flashes which were used to act as the gateway for the ‘stalker’, or at least the pre-cursor for subsequent events. For me, it was the best technique used in the film and I wished the director had continued down this route alone without the addition of other threads in which the ending gets tangled in. Whilst not the best horror out there, it’s certainly worth a watch, just don’t expect to be blown away.