Eye For Film >> Movies >> Into The Mirror (2003) Film Review
Into The Mirror
Reviewed by: Mimmo
This Korean spectral story of revenge, directed by Kim Sung-Ho, takes up familiar generic forms and gives them an added home-made twist.
Wu-young Min is a young security guard who retired from the police after a shoot-out in which he accidentally killed a colleague. Now, at the Dreamapia store, burnt down a year before in mysterious circumstances, a series of murders takes place. When Ha Hyun-su, an old police pal, starts investigating the case, Wu suggests there is something supernatural at work and, when he is disbelieved, takes up his own line of investigation.
The film is is an Asian horror clone, except for the visual inventiveness of the creepy highlights. There are memorable moments and a notable lack of gore is used to conjure up the chills. The director employs creative and sneaky camera-work instead of more obvious effects.
"Look out, it's behind you!" becomes "Look, it's, ah, you behind you". "Who are we after all?" the film asks in its more metaphysical moments, employing twins and other variations on the theme of mirroring to create a series of unsettling motifs. The mirror becomes the Mobius strip reversal of our own reality, a point at which outside and inside are exchanged. These paradoxes are realised mosty fully towards the end of the film.
This movie certainly shows what Korean cinema is capable of in adapting popular genres, though it doesn't do for shopping centres what The Shining did for hotels. Unfortunately, the film does not capitalise on its mirror-as-a-metaphor motif, preferring the psychobabble explanation of the psychologist chum that Min, like so many other cops in similar films, has on call.
Overall, the original elements of the film are overshadowed by the generic features - the cop who screwed up on duty learning to live with his nightmares, the rivalry between cops, the victim killing which inspired spectral revenge attacks, etc. Compared to the high points of the ghostly assassinations, the detective storyline is a by-the-numbers exposition of a formula that is too déjà vu to be deeply uncanny. Still, anyone interested in the recent wave of Asian horror film should enjoy this.Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2005