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Mirrors Comic-Con Press Conference

Mirrors concerns Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland), a New York cop who was suspended for the accidental but fatal shooting of an undercover officer. The suspension has prompted the former alcoholic to return to drink, which has caused a rift in his marriage. For the moment he has taken up residence on his sister's couch. In an attempt to get his life back in order, Carson takes a job as a night watchman at the old Mayflower department store. The store is in ruins, having been destroyed by a fire that took many innocent lives... laying the groundwork for the horrors about to follow. Carson begins to notice something strange about the mirrors, which seem to reflect not only horrors of the past but also seem to be manipulating present reality. When Carson looks into the mirror, he sees himself being tortured and suffers the physical effects in real life. Now he must face not only his personal demons but some seemingly real ones as well.

Kiefer Sutherland in Mirrors (20th Century Fox)

Aja, who also delivered the better than average remake of The Hills Have Eyes , has a definite knack for gruesome horror and his Haute Tension signaled something of a French new Wave of Horror (among the other films in this group are Inside, Frontiers, Ils, Malefique, Sheitan ). Here's some of the comments from the film's press conference.

Question: What drew you to this project? It seems very intense, what do you draw on to do some of the stuff that is obviously required?

Kiefer Sutherland: Horror films, for me growing up certainly, there wasn't a genre of film that could give you any stronger a visceral reaction through watching it. I had always heard that as an actor that is something that would draw you to a genre film. You can actually affect an audience that powerfully, and that quickly, so the genre was something I was really interested in. Alex had made & 'The Hills Have Eyes' which was a film that really kind of harkened back to the 70's horror films. They dealt with things in most films that I think were much more different than what we were now term as slasher films-- Amityville Horror, The Exorcist, The Omen. Those films all had character driven plots that made you invested in the characters so that the horror was really a combination of the affection that the audience had with a character, combined with the horrific circumstances that the character was put in. For me, I remember at the very first meeting I had read the script and loved it. If you took all the horrific elements out of the script its still played as an unbelievably strong family drama. This idea of being able to meld these two worlds, these two genres, the drama of a man really trying to put his family back together, combined with the horrific circumstance, I found an unbelievably exciting opportunity.

Obviously when I had seen & 'The Hills Have Eyes' Alex is an unbelievable filmmaker. He has such a strong visual perspective of what he wants to do and how he's going to tell his story. I remember looking at him and I said & 'I believe that I can make you care about this guy. You have to guarantee me that you can scare the shit out of everybody.' He smiled and he said & 'Absolutely.' That was it, literally we agreed to work together at that point. We were working in Romania for a large part of the film. There was a large part of our crew that didn't speak English. So in a very odd way I felt that many times Alex and I were working alone. And I'll never forget, it was like watching two excited children. Him with & 'How am I going to scare the audience?' and my responsibility & 'How am I going to get you to care enough about this character so that when something bad does happen, when that character is threatened, it really is going to hit you with two emotions.' To play hope and fear at the same time was something that was a real challenge for me.

Question: What is your favorite horror movie?

Kiefer Sutherland: This is going to be kind of embarrassing. I think the one that scared me most was not The Exorcist, which I know that is it for so many people. It was not The Omen. There was a film made in 1972 or 73 called The Car. The irony of this is that I lived on a 14th floor in an apartment complex in Toronto called Crescent Town. The Car was a movie that was basically possessed by the devil, and it was a black Lincoln, with yellow windows and it went into this small town and basically ran everybody over. This car could go through houses. The only place it couldn't go was a graveyard or a church. Every time the car came into town the wind would start to blow and music would start to go. I don't think I've ever been scared by anything more in my life. I lived on the 14th floor and I was still scared that this car was going to manage to get through, get up there, and run me over. I wasn't that young either. I think I was 12 years old. I should have known better. It lasted with me for months.

Alexandre Aja: For me, I was around six or seven I saw by accident The Shinning and it traumatized me for life. It's stayed for me the best movie ever, when I received my first set of mirrors I was thinking this is maybe an opportunity to make a movie in that vein where not only about scares with very strong character, I feel for them believing in the them living the nightmare with them.

Amy Smart: growing up I'd say Poltergeist, then Amityville Horror although I haven't finished The Shinning yet and it scared the sh-t out of me, so today... it's The Shinning.

Question: How important was research in driving the story?

Alexandre Aja: What I realized when you're tiring to make a horror movie if you really want to scare an audience you have to get into some kind of superstitious fear they already have so the best horror movie is ones that we already feel inside insides ourselves - when I received the idea about making Mirrors I realized there is no move about mirrors made and we all have a relationship with mirrors - how many times a day is one of us finding his reflection in windows or whatever kind of surface and it's amazing so we have a relationship with mirrors so I knew it was something already in people that we feel and maybe in an instinctive way if I'm going to make a movie about them maybe I will make them look at themselves differently the next time they look into a mirror - so we did a lot of research about writing the story with mythology, witch craft and psychology its amazing the amount of information - there's enough to make a good film.

Question: What was it like shooting with the mirrors?

Alexandre Aja: We had so many in so many rooms it was a huge challenge and had several discussions to find ways to hide ourselves from the reflections. If there is any crew or whatever in the reflection, every one will see it. And we destroyed 100s of them.
Kiefer Sutherland: YOU destroyed 100s of them.
Alexandre Aja: Yes, I take the responsibility for the 7,000 years of bad luck.

Question: What is the next evolution for the horror genre?

Alexandre Aja: I hope it's not going to be the comeback of the Scream slasher period. It was really frustrating in the 90s to see only those movies that were ironic, but not scary at all. With the new technology offering filmmakers a new possibility for the genre. When you're making a movie everything is about immersion; trying to take the audience from their seat and put them inside the screen with the character in the story. I hope the next step for the genre will be a whole lot of amazing movies.

Question: What can you tell us about your next project Piranha ?

Alexandre Aja: It's the first horror film using the new 3D technology. We are finishing scripts, running prep, getting ready to make the move. I like the idea that in a genre you can do completely unique things and never repeat yourself cause at one point you get to that automatism that I want to avoid. So the only solution is to find a subject that is different and raise a new challenge.

Question: How do you avoid irony with Killer piranhas?

Alexandre Aja: It's different because it's really entertaining, but really, really gory!

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