Broken mirrors bring more than just seven years bad luck in Into The Mirror, a flashy supernatural thriller from Korea about the flipside of fear. In a newly refurbished department store, security chief Woo (Yu Ji-tae) investigates a series of bizarre suicides in which employees are apparently killing themselves in front of the store's mirrors. Is an ingenious serial killer on the loose, or is it the result of something more bizarre? Answers aren't easy to come by in this inventive, but distinctly implausible supernatural thriller...
Revealing its high-concept set-up in the first five minutes as a woman is attacked and murdered by her own reflection, this looking glass horror movie makes no bones about its desire to scare, with another of those slow-burning, creepy storylines that Asian horror apparently has a patent on. It's just a shame that this spooky reimagining of the mirror mythology behind Bernard Rose's legendary Candyman is so hard to take seriously. With its plot about mirrors being portals to the afterlife, writer-director Kim Sung-ho's film is about as far-fetched as the telecommunications terror of another recent Korean horror movie, Phone.
Yet if you can stifle your giggles, Into The Mirror is actually an impressive debut. The department store location is an inspired idea - every surface here is lined with mirrors, increasing the sense of unease and giving Kim the opportunity to play some fiendishly disorienting mind games as he toys with our sense of perspective by shooting certain scenes (quite literally) through the looking glass.
That nothing you see here is quite as it should be, adds an unexpected creepiness to Woo's investigations, as he uncovers some creative corporate accounting; murder most foul, and enough paranormal events to send Mulder and Scully into retirement. Buoying up its scares with some clever-clever chatter about mirrors, schizophrenia and doppelgangers, this Korean frightener proves never less than intriguing.
In Korean with English subtitles.