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MIRRORS

A New Fear Unleased
From folklore to fairy tales, superstition to religious tradition – the mythology surrounding mirrors has always tended toward the dark.

The Romans imbued mirrors with the power to reflect one's soul and affect his or her well-being. This, coupled with their belief that life renews itself every seven years, led to the centuries-old legend that seven years of bad luck will follow anyone who breaks a mirror.

In film and literature, mirrors serve as symbols of vanity and dangerous portals of truth or transport to another time and place. The Jewish faith calls for all mirrors to be shrouded in one's home while mourning the passing of a loved one, lest the living be distracted by the trappings of beauty and the physical world.

But these cautionary tales of narcissism and bad luck pale in comparison to the most common phenomenon associated with mirrors: death.

Steeped in cultures from Rome to the Far East is a common lore casting mirrors as malevolent entities that trap the souls of the living – thereby causing death – or imprison the souls of the departed before they can reach the afterlife, cursing their spirits to eternal captivity. (It is also said that a vampire cannot cast a reflection, because it is a creature of the undead and has already lost its soul.)

That the association between mirrors and death has endured through generations and permeated societies around the globe speaks not only to man's complex relationship with the Great Unknown, but also with his reflection.

"Mirrors inherently challenge us to look inside ourselves,” observes Kiefer Sutherland. "It's difficult to look at yourself. It doesn't matter how good-looking you may be. On a physical level and a spiritual one as well, it's hard to face yourself in a mirror. Depending on what you see, they can be very frightening.”

The darkest elements of this collective mythology are re-imagined for the 21st century in "Mirrors,” the terrifying story of a troubled ex-cop who must defend his family from a savage evil that uses reflective surfaces as gateways to terrorize them.

In developing the film, a remake of the 2003 South Korean horror movie "Into the Mirror,” for New Regency, producer Alexandra Milchan saw the potential for a multilayered psychological thriller in the tradition of "The Shining.”

"Beyond the horror aspect of the original film, there is something very universal and interesting about the cultural mystique of mirrors that provided the basis for a great dramatic piece,” says Milchan, the producer of such films as "Goodbye Lover” and "Righteous Kill.”

She approached writer-director Alexandre Aja ("The Hills Have Eyes,” "High Tension”) about bringing his bold style and visceral storytelling to the project. "I was looking for a project that would allow me to explore fear in a new way,” says Aja, who established himself as a potent new voice in the horror genre with the hit French slasher film "High Tension” and "The Hills Have Eyes,” his grisly remake of the 1977 thriller about a family's struggle to survive a brutal massacre by mutant cannibals.

At the core of "Into the Mirror,” the story of a detective who investigates a series of gruesome murders revolving around mirrors, Aja found what he was looking for. "Everyone has relationship with their reflection,” he muses. "It's something we don't really think about, but it's there. Some people love to look at themselves in the mirror; others hate it. Mirrors can show us the traumas and truths that exist in our subconscious, and are just waiting to be revealed.”

Having previously explored the sadistic extremes of human nature, Aja relished the opportunity to delve into the supernatural. "The concept was really original, and I wanted to create a story around it that would make audiences confront themselves and t

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