Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mirrors (1978)

Call them the unwanted children of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973)—various ’70s thrillers, some theatrical releases and some made for TV, about women bedeviled by supernatural forces. Among the least impressive examples is Mirrors, which has a connection to one of the aforementioned blockbusters because Mirrors leading lady Kitty Winn played a supporting role in The Exorcist. Although she’s a capable actress who periodically imbues moments with clarity and sensitivity, there’s a reason why Winn never became an above-the-title name, and that reason is on display throughout Mirrors. She often seems lost, as if she either doesn’t know what the script demands of her at that particular juncture, or knows but isn’t up to the challenge. Part of the blame, of course, must fall on the film’s director, Noel Black, whose career slid into mediocrity after his wonderful debut, Pretty Poison (1968). Black’s direction of Mirrors was unquestionably impeded by a poor script, but no matter the circumstances, his storytelling is borderline inept, and he evinces little flair for rendering jolts and suspense. Anyway, here’s the story. Marianne (Winn) and her husband, Philip (Peter Donat), visit New Orleans. He has asthma. She experiences weird visions, most of which involve mirrors, and she crosses paths with weirdos including an overly solicitous hotel manager. These folks belong to a voodoo cult of some sort. Philip dies, ostensibly of his asthma, but really, Marianne fears, because of her having angered the occult types. Her conspiracy theories land her in an insane asylum. The story never quite starts, instead lugubriously wandering through various suggestive episodes until viewers realize this is as good as it’s going to get, and it never quite ends, instead just sort of stopping, perhaps because Black ran out of ways to photograph mirrors. Actually, scratch that. He exhausts his visual imagination well before the movie sputters to a halt. As goes the direction, so goes this dull and unmemorable movie overall.

Mirrors: LAME

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