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MIRRORS – Javier Navarrete

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Yet another American remake of an Asian horror film, Mirrors is loosely based on the 2003 Korean film Geol Sokeuro (Into the Mirror), is directed by Alexandre Aja, and stars Kiefer Sutherland as a troubled ex-cop, now working as a security guard in a high-end department store, who finds himself drawn into a horrific mystery when people start being murdered in grisly fashion by their own mirror images.

The score for Mirrors is by Spanish composer Javier Navarrete, his first major international work since his Oscar nomination for Pan’s Labyrinth in 2006. Navarrete’s main theme is a powerful, dark and strident adaptation of Isaac Albéniz’s famous 1892 classical piece ‘Asturias’, which also appears in later cues “Investigation”, the driving “The House is Safe”, and the conclusive “In the Mirror”. Much of the rest of the score is shrill and unsettling, although refreshing has virtually no electronic element, instead relying almost entirely on Navarrete’s skilful manipulation of the orchestra to send shivers down the listener’s back.

Cues such as “Subway”, “Handprints”, “The Dressing Room” and “Angela’s Death” are impressively, disturbingly dissonant, with squealing string writing and enormous brass harrumphs, as well as unnerving vocal effects to add another level of apprehension to the music. Similarly, the very unusual “Extending Mirrors” seems to feature a didgeridoo alongside a staccato piano element – an unusual yet hugely effective combination – while “Keep Your Eyes Closed” has a downright creepy grunting, snorting, whispering vocal effect which, when combined with processed electronic twangs, really raise the goose-bumps.

On the other hand, tracks like “Ben Carson”, “First Night” the warmer, more emotional “Srorrim” add a classy, chilly thematic element to the score, counterbalancing the horror moments with lonely trumpets and deliberately-paced string and piano melodies. The one action cue – “Escape” – is a doozy, all flashy, urgent string writing and enormous percussion hits which throb with a frenzied pace and large orchestral forces.

It’s all wonderfully atmospheric and effective, although definitely not ‘easy listening’, and takes a little stamina to sit and deal with some of the more intentionally difficult music. However, for those with an inclination to experience some of the most stimulating and challenging horror music written in 2008, I would definitely recommend giving Mirrors a shot.

Rating: ****

Track Listing:

  • Asturias/Main Titles (1:47)
  • Subway (3:18)
  • Ben Carson (2:27)
  • First Night (1:36)
  • Handprints (4:44)
  • Fire (2:06)
  • Esseker (2:57)
  • The Dressing Room (3:22)
  • The Mayflower (3:13)
  • Angela’s Death (3:30)
  • What Do You Want from Me? (2:05)
  • Asturias/Investigation (2:21)
  • The Mirrors Room (4:26)
  • Little Anna (2:44)
  • Asturias/The House Is Safe (2:26)
  • The Quest (2:38)
  • Farmhouse Basement (3:25)
  • Extending Mirrors (4:02)
  • Michael’s Reflection (1:33)
  • Keep Your Eyes Closed (4:46)
  • Open Your Eyes (1:20)
  • Possession (1:50)
  • Escape (2:39)
  • Srorrim (3:20)
  • Asturias/In the Mirror (1:30)

Running Time: 70 minutes 05 seconds

Lakeshore Records LKS-34026 (2008)

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