Saturday, March 26, 2016

Prime Cuts :: Clearing Out the Amazon Instant Que :: Through a Mirror Darkly with Sean Ellis' The Broken (2008)

It's hard to discuss this movie without revealing any spoilers, thus and so, SPOILERS AHOY and all that from here on out. Anyhoo, what I thought was being set up as a rehash of Carnival of Souls (1962) actually turned out to be a kinda-sorta fresh twist on Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956/1978).

Here, writer and director Sean Ellis spins a tale of a woman (Headey) who spots her exact double on the streets of London, follows her to an apartment filled with pictures of herself and her family, a place she has never been and pictures she doesn't remember taking part in, and is so distraught by this freak encounter she flees the scene and then loses control of her car and gets into a terrible accident. And as she recovers, and her scattered and blocked memories of this traumatic event slowly piece back together, the behavior of those closest to her appears to be off, strange, belligerent even -- one could even say they're acting exactly the mirror opposite of themselves. And as her paranoia goes off the rails, she even goes so far as to claim her boyfriend is no longer the man she knew but something "else."

Turns out she's right, only the root cause is not alien invaders but an incursion by trans-dimensional beings who lurk on the other side of the mirror pane, who are now shattering their way through the glass, murdering their doubles, and taking over their lives. And as our character's memories finally coalesce, we discover that she was the invading double all along.

Once you figure out the trajectory of the plot, The Broken (2008) holds no real surprises, though I did appreciate the original approach of this old sci-fi tale, telling it through the eyes of a defective duplicate, who was having some guilt issues over the homicidal assimilation process. There are also some truly effective use of light and shadows, of spectral faces appearing in the dark and then solidifying, signaling the end of another victim. Probably doesn't hurt that mirrors kinda freak me out, too, which I'm sure reflects greatly on my reaction to this movie. As always, your viewing mileage may vary.

The Broken (2008) Left Turn Films :: Ugly Duckling Films :: Gaumont International :: After Dark Films / EP: Franck Chorot / P: Lene Bausager / AP: Winnie Li, Yves Chevalier / LP: Marshall Leviten / D: Sean Ellis / W: Sean Ellis / C: Angus Hudson / E: Scott Thomas / M: Guy Farley / S: Lena Headey, Ulrich Thomsen, Melvil Poupaud, Michelle Duncan, Richard Jenkins

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