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Into The Mirror (KOREA 2003)

Director : Kim Sung-Ho
Producer : Kim Eun-Yung
Screenplay : Kim Sung-Ho
Cast : Yoo Ji-Tae, Kim Myung-Min, Kim Hye-Na

Synopsis
Wu Young-Min is the head of security at a shopping mall which is about to reopen after a terrible fire. As an ex-cop, Young-Min is haunted by the tragic event which resulted in his decision to leave the police force. When a young woman is found dead inside the mall and the investigative team arrives to look into the murder, Young-Min finds that he knows the lead detective on the case – Ha Hyun-Su. Young-Min wants to leave the police to their job of finding out what happened to the girl but finds himself being pulled into the case – especially when another dead body is found in the mall.

Review
by Martin Cleary

Into The Mirror is one of those films that fans of J-Horror should enjoy, it has some interesting ideas hidden within its average plotline. The style of film is familiar: an ex-cop who is haunted by his past is forced to confront his fears. Throw into the mix some creepy murders, an ex-college who dislikes him and a friend who just so happens to be a psychologist (what a coincidence!) and you sort of know what type of film this will be from the beginning.

The film sets up its opening premise – the suspicious death of an employee of the mall – and then branches off into two intertwining narratives. The ex-cop Young-Min attends to his job as the head of security, a job which gives him access to confidential files and employee records which he looks at with his ‘cops’ perspective. Throw into this some heavy drinking and nightmares and we soon see a man who is thrown into a who lot of confusion. The second narrative is the investigation by the detectives Ha Hyun-Su, a man who wants the case closed as quickly as possible and who dislikes both Young-Min and the ideas about the case that the ex-college brings. Of course, its only a matter of time until the two men have to confront each other and decide whether to work together to try to make some sense out of what they’ve found. Director Kim Sung-Ho brings some nice visual touches to the film, the opportunity to use mirrors and reflections in any scene is never missed. This leads to some impressive effects and some genuinely creepy moments. The film themes of reflection, duality and perception are also fairly direct and it seems a shame that they aren’t developed in more depth throughout. Saying that, the final moment of the film is a very welcome touch. Performance-wise this is okay: Yoo Ti-Hae gives a solid enough performance and Kim Myung-Min impresses in the slightly lesser role of the detective.

On the negative side, Into The Mirror doesn’t really produce anything that we haven’t seen before aside from some clever visuals. The plot is a bit worn and there are a few obvious holes. The film also doesn’t really decide which way it wants to turn – it’s an uneven mix of police procedure and ghost story. The (just short of) two hour running time feels a bit overlong, it’s plodding pace means that your attention may start to waver about halfway through and the explanation of what has actually happened in the mall is a combination of the obvious and slightly ridiculous mixed with a couple of clever ideas.

Fans of Asian horror might like to check this film out. While the film doesn’t produce anything to push it up to above average it’s still a fairly solid couple of hours. In fact, give this a watch without expecting it to provide any great scares and you may appreciate the ‘police investigation’ aspects.

Rating
Plot :
Acting :
Entertainment :
Overall :

Notable Scenes
- Lee Ji-Hyun’s untimely demise
- The reason Wu Young-Min left the police force
- The final moments

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Into The Mirror

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