• Review Date: August 18, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Brutal horror movie offers little to reflect on.
  • Review Date: August 18, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 110 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

A lead character is a cop who is suspended for accidentally shooting an undercover officer. Lead characters are dealing with a marriage shattered by tragedy; a child overhears his parents arguing. Demonic possession and theological elements are involved in the plot.


Constant, brutal, and explicit violence, including slashed throats (seen repeatedly in close-up and later in photos); knife wounds; flesh wounds from shards of shattered mirrors; drowning induced by unseen supernatural forces (including that of a child); a grotesque special-effects sequence in which a woman's mirror reflection tears her own jaw loose, fatally replicating the grisly wound on her real-life counterpart; a mutilated body is seen floating in a bathtub; a half-naked female burn victim seen crying in agony; several burn victims seen in supernatural visions; a psychiatric patient being manhandled and restrained; corpses being autopsied shown in great detail; a woman cut to bloody ribbons by exploding mirrors; a character battling an elderly demon-possessed woman in intense close-quarters fighting (her demise includes being shot, impaled with a steam pipe, immolated in an explosion, and crushed with falling debris). Children are in peril. Extensive discussion of a fire with dozens of fatalities and a massacre at a hospital which left 15 dead. A nun is essentially kidnapped at gunpoint.


Some kissing; glimpses of naked buttocks and breasts. A lead female character dresses primarily in low-cut tops, wet tops, or low-cut and wet tops.


Some, including "f--k," "s--t," "dammit," "hell," and "bitch."


Many brands are visible on screen, including Jack Daniels, Quaker Oats, Heineken, Dodge automobiles, UPS, Smirnoff, Crown Royal, Amnesty International, and more.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A character discusses a problematic history with alcohol, noting that they "haven't had a drink in three months." The same character is using a prescription drug with serious side effects to stop drinking. A scene is set in a bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this brutal horror movie is graphically, grotesquely, and grimly violent, featuring extensive sequences of special-effects gore. Disturbing, gory images are lingered over, and the film's magical-mirror plotline -- in which mystical reflection images are recreated in the real world -- means that, in many cases, viewers literally get to see the same horrifically violent acts twice. There's also a demonic-possession element to the plot, as well as a bit of sexuality, some strong language, and references to a drinking problem.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Haunted by doubt and guilt after accidentally killing an undercover officer, suspended NYPD detective Ben Carson's (Kiefer Sutherland) marriage is shattered, and he's forced to take a nighttime security guard position at the burnt-out wreckage of a department store in hopes that he might be able to move on from crashing with his sister, Angela (Amy Smart). As Ben tours the ruins each night, he starts seeing grim, grisly visions in the store's mirrors -- visions that somehow leap from the glass into the real world. As the malevolent force behind the mirrors poses an increasing threat to Ben's friends and family, he has to unravel the mystery of the force hidden behind the mirrors ... and ask himself whether satisfying the force's demands will really end the threat to his family.

Is it any good?


Helmed by French horror director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, High Tension), MIRRORS is long on gore and short on plot, as Ben flails, freaks out, and fumbles around trying to decipher the visions and messages he's receiving from the mystical dimension behind the mirrors. (The department store, it seems, used to be a hospital, and the past treatment of a schizophrenic girl lies at the heart of the mystery.)

Even as Ben frantically tries to keep his estranged wife (Paula Patton) and children safe, Mirrors doesn't do much to make viewers care; the mirror visions are so powerful that they can't be ignored or denied, which means that the film simply limps from one bloody sequence to another. Aja's other horror films, while also grisly, had a certain style to them; in Mirrors, the slack plot is just an excuse for a series of gory, violent moments that the film lingers on lovingly. Mirrors has plenty of spooks and scares and special effects; what it doesn't have is much of a plot -- or characters worth caring about.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the nature and character of bloody horror films. Why does Hollywood make them, and what purpose do they serve? This movie -- like The Ring, The Grudge, and Pulse -- is a remake of an Asian horror film; why has Hollywood found Asian horror films so worthy of re-visitation over the past few years? Do violent horror films release negative emotional energy or create it? Can violent, graphic images in films like this desensitize viewers? Does it matter whether the goriness seems "over the top"?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 15, 2008
DVD release date:January 12, 2009
Cast:Amy Smart, Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton
Director:Alexandre Aja
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:110 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violence, disturbing images, language and brief nudity.

This review of Mirrors was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bywilliam_1601 September 24, 2010
Despite the positive role-model characters who put family first, this film contains disturbing violence and gore. The language is strong, but not explicit. Overall, the child needs to understand the unrealistic nature of the film in order to view it without significant impact. The most questionable scene in the film for children is when a woman lies in a bathtub while her reflection in the mirror turns 'evil' and pulls her jaw apart. Blood sprays everywhere and her face is torn apart in real-life.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old February 27, 2009

Mirrors was a disappoint and this is coming from a true horror fan

Mirrors was simply bad. Not because it wasn't scary, because it was jumpy in two scenes, it was boring. Nothing was going on. The gore factor was surprisingly low and that's a low even for Alexandre Aja who makes his films gruesome non-stop from start to finish. Mirrors was completely different. There were so many twist and turns that the story never went anywhere and nothing made any sense. Sometimes things were so stupid I wonder if he recycled ideas from M. Night Shymalan. For sexual content, we see Amy getting ready to take a shower. (We see her buttocks, legs, bare back, and the side of her breast). For violence/gore there are only two gruesome scenes. One scene involves a female ripping her jaw off (extremely gory, gashes of blood, the whole act is on-screen). The other scene involves a man grabbing a shard of glass slashing his throat. (Gashes of blood). Kiefer Sutherland fights an evil nun and there is a lot of blood and gore in this scene. As for profanity, there are at least around 10 f words, some scatological terms, anatomical terms, religious exclamations and profanities, mild obscenities, and name-calling. Overall, skip Mirrors.
Teen, 14 years old Written byjackbauerislife February 1, 2011


great movie keifer sutherland is god
What other families should know
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide