Craig Griffith‘s THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2006) is a slow-paced thriller that will leave an impression. It is a descent into madness caused by a simple, yet elegant mirror serving as a portal in which Hell influences the owner. The film has a unique backstory, and the folklore behind the mirror is robust and relevant to the movie. It allows just enough time to get to know the characters and observe how the mirror affects the artist. A superbly curious, psychological indie horror is worthy of praise.
A struggling artist (Paul McCarthy) has failed to come up with excellent artwork in six months to sell, frustrating his agent (Michael Langridge). One day, a mysterious mirror is delivered to his residence wrapped in newspaper. An old friend (Johnathan Rhodes) from the city has decided he wants to become an author and decides to move in with the artist in his creative home as an original motivation. Over time, the friend begins to notice how the artist is slowly becoming paranoid and obsessing over the mirror while creating disturbing artworks. How far will the artist go?
There is both a positive and a negative to the film. Pro: the film’s pacing allows the viewer to become well acquainted with the characters. The artist model (Roz Povey) performance is worthy to note. Con: the slow pace combines with the melancholic appeal to the film that, unfortunately, a few dull moments occur before the overall story is fulfilled. However, it is in these moments when the mysteries of the mirror take effect. Shockingly, something many horror films lack.
The terror aspect of this film lies not in horrid surprises, but mainly from the psychologically painful evolution as the artist is pushed closer to the edge. The location of the film emanates an atmosphere of emotional longing and pain; a spacious country mansion set in the middle of nowhere, where the sun hardly–if ever–shines through the thick clouds. The shadows within the home grow more hauntingly as the film progresses, symbolizing the artist’s further distancing from a rational state of mind, building to its very tragic ending that will leave a powerful and emotional impact.
Through the Looking Glass proceeds at a slow and steady pace; but it absolutely wins the race.
Poster, synopsis and trailer ‘Through the Looking Glass’ courtesy of Craig Griffith. All rights reserved.