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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Produced by Alexandre Aja
Grégory Levasseur
Written by Alexandre Aja
Grégory Levasseur
Starring Kiefer Sutherland
Paula Patton
Music by Javier Navarrete
Cinematography Maxime Alexandre
Editing by Baxter
Studio Regency Enterprises
New Regency
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) United States:
August 15, 2008
United Kingdom:
October 10, 2008
November 6, 2008
Running time 110 min.
Country Romania
United States
Language English
Budget $35,000,000
Gross revenue $72,436,439
Followed by Mirrors 2 (2010)

Mirrors is a 2008 horror film directed by Alexandre Aja, and stars Kiefer Sutherland. The film was first titled Into the Mirror, but the name was later changed to Mirrors. Filming began on May 1, 2007, and it was released in American theaters on August 15, 2008.

The film was originally scripted as a straightforward remake of the 2003 South Korean horror film Into the Mirror. However, once Aja was brought on board and read the script, he was dissatisfied with the particulars of the original film's story. He decided to retain the original film's basic idea involving mirrors, and to incorporate a few of its scenes, but otherwise crafted a new story and script for his version of the movie.[1]



The movie begins with an terrified man running across an subway platform. He ends up in an locker room, and all of the locker doors swing open. Each door has an mirror on the inside, and each stops once the mirrors are facing him. To his horror, the room's larger wall mirror begins to crack as he approaches it. He desperately apologizes to his reflection therein for running away, asking for forgiveness, he begins fervently cleaning it, and an piece of the fractured mirror falls off. He notices his reflection begins acting of its own accord as it picks up the shard of broken mirror and then slowly slashing its own throat. As the man experiences the effects of this, his throat slices open, blood erupting from the wound, despite him not doing it to himself. He collapses and dies.

Sometime later, Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland), an undercover police detective on suspension after shooting another officer, his partner, arrives for his first day on the job as a night security guard at a department store that had been gutted by fire and shuttered for close to a decade. (The eerie building where some of these scenes were filmed is actually in Bucharest.[2]) As he is given a tour of the building, he is told about its history. The department store used to be a psychiatric hospital that experimented in treating schizophrenia. In 1952, a mass killing took place and the hospital was closed. It was later reopened as a luxury department store, the Mayflower. Carson comments on the pristine mirrors throughout the otherwise deteriorated place, and the guard comments that his predecessor had been obsessed with cleaning them.

Carson's patrol begins normally, though on his first night he sees an open door in a mirror's reflection while it is actually closed. Over time, Carson begins to see more intense visions, which he initially shrugs off as hallucinations (due to a strong drug he started taking as a result of his alcohol dependency). He notices mysterious handprints on a large, central mirror. Curious, he touches them, causing the mirror to crack and injure his hand, but the mirror strangely doesn't appear broken at all. Carson further hallucinates being set on fire, as well as seeing people in various parts of the building who appear to be suffering from severe burns. Eventually, he finds the wallet of Gary Lewis the night watchman he is replacing (the same man who died at the beginning of the film). Inside is a note that says "Esseker". Ben then receives a package from Gary Lewis that was sent several days before his death. The package contains newspaper clippings about the fire and other crimes. The man convicted of burning the Mayflower was also convicted of killing his wife and children.

Carson tells his younger sister, Angela (Amy Smart) (whose apartment he is staying at), about what he's seen, commenting that he feels like the mirrors aren't reflecting his image, but rather someone is looking at him. His sister tries to reassure him. Later, he decides to see the body of Gary Lewis at the morgue (where his estranged wife, Amy (Paula Patton) works as a Coroner), and she reluctantly agrees to let him see Gary Lewis's body and the crime scene photos. In one of the photos, the reflection in the mirror shows the glass shard in his hand covered in blood, but the one in reality is not. This convinces Ben that the mirrors are actually making people do things to themselves that they aren't actually doing.

Meanwhile, Angela is at home preparing for a bath. Facing the bathroom mirror, she ties back her hair, then walks over and climbs into the bathtub, not noticing that her reflection has never left the mirror. It grips its jaw with both hands and begins to slowly pull it apart. Angela screams in pain and shock as the effects of her reflection's actions manifest on her face: her cheeks tear open, her jaw breaks and detaches from her head, killing her.

Ben returns from his shift to find the police have set up a crime scene. He rushes past them and is deeply distraught when he finds Angela's body. After being detained briefly by the police, he is released, and returns to the Mayflower. He attempts to destroy the mirrors, but they are impervious to damage, even able to regenerate from several bullets he fires at them. He demands to know what the mirrors want, and cracks appear on one of the mirrors, spelling out the word "ESSEKER". Ben investigates and watches a video of Terrance Berry's interrogation and finds that the mirrors killed his family and he needed to find "Esseker". Realizing that the mirrors will eventually kill his family he goes to his wife's home and attempts to remove or paint the surface of every mirror in the house, but she is convinced he is having a breakdown, and demands that he leave. Ben leaves in frustration and embarrassment.

Ben returns that night to the building and goes down into the flooded basement. He tries to open the locked doors at the other end but fails. He backtracks and sees a small sign stating "Psychiatric Studies" with an arrow pointing left and "St. Matthew's Hospital" underneath. He moves a ways back down the hall to the site of the leak and begins pulling at the tiles and brick of the wall and finds a room with a chair surrounded by mirrors beyond it, a Psychomanteum. He examines the chair and then hallucinates being shot by his reflection in one of the mirrors, blocking his face. He asks his police friend Larry to help him locate the patient-employee manifest for the hospital and Larry finds the name Anna Esseker, a patient of the psychiatric hospital that the Mayflower used to be. She was twelve years old at the time she died in the mass killing.

Ben looks through Anna's file, shocked at some of the pictures he finds and then comes across an Authorization and Consent form that negated her Death Certificate, stating that she had been discharged from the hospital two days before the massacre. Immediately after Ben hears the sound of glass cracking and is led to believe by the mirror that Anna is still alive. Meanwhile, Amy realizes that Ben is telling the truth when she discovers her son Michael talking to his reflection in a mirror. She asks him what he's doing and tells him to leave for school. He moves away from the mirror but his reflection remains, smiling at her. Amy calls Ben in a panic, who immediately returns home, and together they cover every reflective surface in the house.

Shortly after, Ben discovers Anna Esseker's childhood home, and meets with her brother, who tells him that when Anna lived there as a young girl, she was very violent and uncontrollable. She was diagnosed with severe schizophrenia but her family believed she was possessed by demons named John. Several doctors and priests tried and failed to help her, until finally one doctor (Dr. Kane) from the psychiatric hospital came. His treatment was to confine Anna to a chair in a room surrounded by mirrors, believing this would cure her schizophrenia by forcing her to confront her own reflection as he did not believe in demonic possession. Ben asks where she went afterwards and Mr. Esseker says that she died until Ben shows him the release document. He told Ben that the treatment seemed to work, and Anna was sent home but soon after weird things started to happen with the mirrors so her family sent her to a convent, Saint Augustine's Monastery, where mirrors are forbidden. Ben visits the convent, and finds Anna, who explains that she was actually possessed by a demon, which was drawn from her and became trapped in the mirrors. She explains that it collects the souls of those it kills and if she were to return it would make it possible for the demon to be brought back into the mortal world. Ben begs Anna to come back to the Mayflower anyway, explaining that doing so would make the demon leave his family alone but Anna continues to refuse his plea.

Meanwhile, Ben's family is under attack. Michael walks toward Amy's room and opens the door, quite obviously being under the influence of the demon. Amy and Daisy are asleep in her bed when Ben calls and Amy discovers that Michael is missing. She sees her bedroom door cracked open and finds that there's a thin reflective layer of water completely covering the floor and the paint has been scraped off the mirrors. She goes into the bathroom turning off all the water faucets and sees Michael's reflection in the bathtub. She is pulled underwater while back in her bedroom Daisy is woken by Amy's voice calling to her. Amy, back in the bathroom, is frantically trying to lift her head out of the water but then saves herself by pulling the drain plug. Daisy is led into the room she shares with her brother and sees Amy in the mirror although when she looks back Amy isn't there. As Daisy asks why Amy is in the mirror, opened scissors are revealed from behind Amy as she moves toward Daisy, reassuring her. Amy's reflection grabs Daisy, lifting her into the air and begins to slash her throat with one of the scissor's blades, but the real Amy bursts into the room and pulls her away. Amy's reflection is pushed up against the mirror, angrily trying to watch as Amy takes Daisy out of the room and into the closet of her own, using a first aid kit to bandage the wound on Daisy's neck. After commanding Daisy to stay in the closet no matter what she leaves the room to find Michael. A water faucet has been turned on and is overflowing onto the floor as Amy goes downstairs calling for Michael. She sees him in the living room standing on a chair, using a chef knife to scrape the paint from a mirror, looking possessed. Michael turns to her after she calls his name and says "Don't be scared, Mommy. He just wants to play with us." Amy tries to coerce him into handing over the knife after commanding him to drop the knife, but he runs the other way toward the kitchen. She chases him back into the living room and sees his reflection hiding by a table and after leaning down to see him he slashes her cheek with the knife. She turns around and sees his reflection running across the living room.

Having threatened her at gunpoint, Anna and Ben return to the Mayflower and as they go toward the basement hands and faces are pushing against the mirrors. Anna tells Ben to bring her into the Psychomanteum and that she needs to keep her eyes closed. At her order he straps her in to the chair. Back at Ben's house Amy begins upstairs, calling for Michael and sees him sitting cross-legged on the floor, his hand playing in the water, humming. Amy gets his attention but he is suddenly pulled through the water as Amy futilely tries to grab him. She sees him as a reflection in the water, trying to push his way out, being underwater himself. At the Mayflower Ben quickly finishes strapping Anna in and leaves immediately. The lights begin to flicker and the building begins to shake as the demons in the mirrors are released. They repossess her and as she opens her eyes a mirror cracks and all the mirrors in the Mayflower explode, the ones in the Psychomanteum explode so powerfully the shards rip Anna to shreds and decapitate her. Back at the house Michael is released from the demon's grip and Amy is able to pull him to safety. After the mirrors are all shattered one by one, Ben returns to the mirror room and is attacked by the Anna-demon. He manages to impale it on a broken steam pipe in the basement hallway. He shoots it, igniting a nearby gas line, setting off a huge explosion. The demon is freed of the pipe and Ben throws it against a wall. The old building collapses, killing the demon, and trapping Ben under the ceiling as he rushes toward the exit.

Ben pulls himself out of the rubble and stumbles his way out of the building. Police and firemen are everywhere in the street, and a body is seen taken in a bag by paramedics, but nobody notices Ben. He looks at the older security guard's nametag, and sees it is written in reverse (like a mirror), as is the word "Police" on a police car; even the wound he suffered earlier is on Ben's opposite hand. Upon walking through New York with cars nearly running him over and people not noticing him as well, he comes upon the mirrored surface of a department store front and fails to see his own reflection as he reaches out to touch it. He realizes that he was crushed to death under the rubble and is now trapped in the mirror world, yet in our world we see a handprint appear on the glass surface.



Javier Navarrete used a prior existing work of classical music, "Asturias" by Isaac Albéniz, as the film's main theme.


Box office

In the United States, Mirrors opened in fourth position making $11.1 million. On its second weekend it ranked at seventh position, making a further $5 million. Now, $30 million has been earned in total in the United States. In spite of poor reviews, the film did very well in the box office, especially in foreign cinemas, staying in the top five for its opening weekend in several countries including France, Mexico and United Kingdom, where it consistently ranked #2.[3][4][5] It topped in the Hong Kong box office with $228,481[6] and stayed at the third place in Philippines and Spain.[7][8] In South Korea and Russia it took #4 for the opening weekend grossing[9][10]. The film so far has grossed $72,436,439 worldwide including $41,745,000 from foreign cinemas[11].

Critical reception

The film received generally negative reviews. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 13% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 67 reviews.[12] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 35 out of 100, based on 13 reviews.[13]


On 08 October 2009, the director Victor Garcia announced that he will begin to shoot a sequel[14][15],which will be Direct-to-DVD/ Direct-to-video for 20th Century Fox.[16][17]


  1. ^ "Movieweb: EDIT BAY VISIT: We Look Deep Into Alexandre Aja's Mirrors". 
  2. ^ IMDB locations list
  3. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  4. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  5. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  6. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  7. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  8. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  9. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  10. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  11. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  12. ^ "Mirrors Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  13. ^ "Mirrors (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  14. ^ More Details Revealed about Mirrors 2
  15. ^ Dread Central Visits the Set of Mirrors 2
  16. ^ 'Mirrors II' Director Revealed, Synopsis!
  17. ^ Mirrors 2 Goes Before the Cameras, Plot and Cast Details

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