They say there's no such thing as a free lunch... but a free breakfast? 20th Century Fox threw a free breakfast for a select few members of the press to promote their upcoming horror flick MIRRORS with director Alex Aja and stars Keifer Sutherland and Amy Smart in attendance. This was pretty awesome for a few reasons: 1) the breakfast was held at the Hard Rock Hotel, the very hotel I was staying at, so it was easy to find; 2) I was a hungry and only slightly hungover (a free breakfast always remedies those two problems); and 3) Aja is one of my favorite directors (behind such classics as HIGH TENSION and THE HILLS HAVE EYES), Sutherland is cool dude, and Smart is hot as f*ck. Combine those factors together, and it's the perfect start to day 2 of the Con.
I have some fresh fruit and some spicy potatoes because my stomach can't handle anything too heavy or greasy, then we pile around the "stage" they've set up for us, featuring a backdrop of mirrors of different shapes and sizes, and giant paintings of the still images from the film. There's even a few "character-type posters" hanging in the background. The whole thing is dark, grisly, creepy, and totally awesome. The kind of place you want to eat breakfast early in the morning.
Smart, Aja, and Sutherland
Aja, Sutherland, and Smart pile in and make thier way to the stage, we all sit down, and they start off with showing us a clip of the opening scene--a scene that will set the mood for the entire movie. That very clip went a little something like this:
A bald security guard running through the old hallowed-out department story, running away from his reflection in the mirrors, until he runs into a locker room and has nowhere else to run. He's screaming at his image in the big mirror when all the lockers open and the mirrors inside each of them point staight at him. He freaks and starts punching the big mirror--when a piece of broken mirror falls out. He calms down and bends over to pick it up--but his reflection stays standing. He doesn't want to be holding the broken shard, but his reflection takes it to his neck and proceeds to cuts his own throat. The camera doesn't pull away, blood is spraying everywhere with every slice of the neck, the camera still doesn't cut away, more blood is sprayed, until the guys falls down--dead.
Wow. I like my horror bloody, graphic, and gruesome, and this clip gave it all. I'm just glad I wasn't actively eating my breakfast at that point, otherwise I might have lost it. Aja tells us that, surprisingly enough, the MPAA gave him a solid R without having to cut much from his original cut. If you saw all the blood, you'd be surprised too. The lights dim, and they show us another clip:
Sutherland in a bar talking to his sister (Smart) the bartender, freaking out because he's seeing things in the mirrors and "the f*cking mirrors are everywhere." Smart tells him he's crazy and that he should relax.
Maybe not as much fun as the last clip, but lets us know there's more than just blood and violence in this flick--they actually seemed to care a bit about character development, and I can definitely appreciate that. With that, another clip begins:
Sutherland running through the run-down department store with a flashlight, looking for the screaming girls voice that seems to be coming from all around him. The screams are ferocious and hard to listen to (it's quite terrifying). He spots the girl screaming on the floor behind him in the reflection of a mirror, but when he turns around no one is there, he looks back and she's still lying there screaming, bleeding, dying, crawling for help, her skin burning off her bones.
Now there's the horror that I like. There's something about screaming in terror that really sends shivers up my spine. But what's creepier than constant screaming? How about a little kid... as seen in the next clip they show us.
A kid sitting cross-legged on the floor in his house, a floor covered with black water, he's playing with his reflection with his hand. His mom comes in, she's terrified at this image (and so am I), she tells him to get up, when something from below the water reaches up and pulls him in, underneath the surface! His mom goes to help, but he's trapped underneath there, under the surface like he was under a frozen-over lake trying to get out.
What's worse, creepy kids or having the evil spirits kill a kid off? In this case, both. In a totally awesome way, of course--I enjoyed every second of it. But then they showed us the final clip...and let me tell you, they saved the best for last.
"The Jaw Ripping Scene," Smart getting ready for a bath, gets into the bath (with a brief second of full nudity), her reflection is still in the mirror standing, when the reflection grabs her upper and lower jaw and begins ripping them apart. Bathtub smart stars screaming as her jaw is ripping in two. She's thrashing, she's freaking out, her jaw is being ripped then fully ripped in two, it's disgusting. Blood is everywhere, the camera doesn't even pull away from any of it, You think you've seen it all, but it keeps ripping and pulling apart until you can see down into her throat with her hanging tongue just flopping around her exposed jugular...
Wow! This one scene will have people talking for years. It's the "money shot" of the movie, the most graphic and disturbing... and probably the most awesome. You won't believe your eyes, and you'll love every second of it. Aja is the man at creating a terrifying, bloody, and out of this world gorey sequence... and for successfully grossing out his audience. Like a said, a great way to start the day.
Aja and Sutherland
After the clips they jumped right into talking about the flick and answering questions. Here are the highlights:
After the panel they were all cool enough to sit and talk with us, and this lucky bastard even got a picture with the lovely Amy Smart. I tried to get one with Sutherland, but his people were rushing him out of the room before I had a chance. Oh well--some other time, Jack Bauer, some other time...
What a way to begin the day! The clips we were shown were awesome, gorey, disgusting, and fun. If the final product is anything like what we were shown, we're gonna be in for quite a treat! An R rated supernatural horror flick? It feels like ages since we've been treated to something like that...
Some bum and Amy Smart