Into the Mirror (2003)
Written By: AR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director(s): Kim Sung-ho
Writers(s): Kim Sung-ho
Producer(s): Kim Eun-young
Date Released: August 14, 2003
Yoo Ji-tae – Wu Young-min
Kim Hye-na – Lee Ji-hyun/ Lee Jeong-hyun
Kim Myung-min – Ha Hyun-Soo
Rating = 1.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Wu Young-min (Yoo Ji-tae) has left his job as a detective after losing his partner at a failed hostage situation. A year later, he is now working as Chief of Security for the shopping mall his uncle is managing, as he is still unable to recover from the trauma caused by the incident.
After recently being burned downed from a fire where several employees have died, the mall is getting ready for its grand reopening. A week before its reopening, an employee staying late is found dead with a slit throat. Afterwards, another mysterious death with no clear evidence and suspect occurred. As the police takes over to find the killer responsible for all of the deaths, Young-min suspects there is something more supernatural at play. He tracks down Ji-hyun (Kim Hye-na), the sister of Jeong-hyun (an employee who died in the fire), to shed light on the circumstances. Ji-hyun believes that her sister didn’t really die from the fire and is trapped in the mirrors inside the shopping mall. Young-min and Ji-hyun races to fight the incriminating evidence against them and the impending reopening as they attempt to find out what really happened to the sister.
The movie focuses more on unraveling the storyline than on gore but still features a few gory scenes. The first death of the shopping mall employee plainly shows her throat being slit by a pizza cutter in front of the bathroom mirror. As her throat sheds blood, she collapses on the floor where the blood continues to flow on the tiles. At the climactic confrontation scene, Ji-hyun grabs a broken mirror glass and stabs the main villain right in the eye. The resulting wound is made realistic with the use of prosthetics. The villain also died by being guillotined in half, with the bloody corpse reflected in the mirror.
The Grave Review
Into the Mirror (2003) utilizes an interesting mythology to build the concept of the movie. It weaves the mirror, both as a figurative and literal idea, all throughout the film to emphasize its central role in the narrative. It raises the question of self and identity as the characters battle with their thoughts and suffering. The concept of mirrors has been incorporated into the visual elements, offering stunning visual picturesque scenes. The opening credits make use of mirror distortions, creating a funhouse mirror effect to depict a murder scene.
The interesting concept and creative visuals fail to reflect throughout this lackluster movie. The narrative is middling at best and blurry at worst. It fails to elicit a scare from the viewer with its dismal use of horror elements. While the actors did their best with the material, the characters are merely caricatures to nudge the unsophisticated plot forward.
The plot is ambitious but the writing is not tight enough to satisfy the audience. Young-min is supposed to be a former police prodigy but throughout the film, he does not seem to initiate action and lead as the Chief of Security. The police force is also incompetent as they neglect proper law enforcement procedures, as shown by their tendency to state unfounded accusations with no clear evidence in front of the press. With the story not establishing enough emotional investment on the victims, their deaths are unexceptional and uninspiring. Even the reveal of Young-min living in the mirror world fails to deliver the punch it intended. One bright spot here is the acting of Kim Myung-min as Detective Ha Hyun-Soo. He managed to uplift the plain detective role into someone that is remarkable. The movie has the right concept, it just failed on the execution, which is a pity.
For that reason, Grave Reviews gives Into the Mirror (2003) one and a half graves out of five graves.
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