Director – Sean Ellis
Cast – Lena Headey, Ulrich Thomsen, Melvil Poupaud, Michelle Duncan, Asier Newman, Richard Jenkins
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
The Broken is one the entries in this year’s After Dark Horrorfest ‘09, the horror film series that has been losing steam every year since it’s much hyped debut in 2005. I remember being so excited for the first Horrorfest and caught half of the films on the big screen, and although I enjoyed the films that I saw I was really let down at the quality of the films. 90 percent of the Horrorfest films are mediocre at best, and only a few hidden gems have come forth such as Frontier(s). Anywho, this film is a positive addition to the film series but is not much better than the other “mediocre” films.
This film follows a successful radiologist named Gina who one day sees herself driving a car identical to hers right by her. She is stunned by what she saw and decides to follow her “twin” home and finds some very creepy things in the woman’s flat(takes place in France). Pictures of her and her father that she never took with him, and other little things that she should remember, but doesn’t believe they ever took place. As she leaves the woman’s place she gets into a terrible accident, leaving her with only fragments of the memories she just learned of at the woman’s home. She is now thrown into a deadly reality that has put her family and boyfriend in danger and the only consistent pieces of evidence she has are a series broken mirrors.
This flick reminds me a lot of the South Korean film Into the Mirror and it’s subsequent remake simply titled Mirrors, which stars Kiefer Sutherland and was listed as #8 on my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2008 posting. It’s just something about mirrors and your reflection coming to life that totally creeps me out. Also the fact that basically everyone in civilized countries has numerous mirrors in their home, increasing the deadly odds of this aspect of horror. Anywho, The Broken is not entirely about killer mirrors but something even more rare in the horror realm…the use of “doppelgangers”. For those of you unfamiliar with what a doppelganger is, it is basically a double of you, a ghostly impression of you that exists somewhere else on Earth. Myths say that when someone you know sees a doppelganger of you that you are in grave danger or are falling ill, whereas if you see your own doppelganger then your own death is imminent. I really liked this aspect of the film and found it quite unique and refreshing given I have honestly never really seen another horror film using this type of plot. I liked the idea that every main character in this film had a doppelganger brought into this world through a mirror breaking in their presence together. The doppelgangers then set out to kill each person, and not in the nicest of ways. Hehe. The look of the doppelgangers was pretty sweet too, and was not overdone with crazy makeup but just some slight ghostly effects and a different, more violent persona from the actor. I liked that, given that these doppelgangers must of course look identical to the person, and not like a rotting corpse or anything silly like that.
The pacing for this film is a bit slow, and will take quite some time to develop the plot. I usually enjoy story driven films and can accept their slowness, but this film was a little too slow for my taste and didn’t have enough real suspense to make up for that. I was a bit confused at some parts of the film, and I’m sure that was writer/director Sean Ellis’ plan, until the twist at the end that tries to make sense of it all.
The look of this film was cool and very dark and grainy, much like that of “The Ring”. I enjoy that look in supernatural films and find it to be the perfect atmosphere for some chilling scares. The acting performances were good and so was the direction, it is just the story that could have used some work and been just a bit more exciting.
Overall, this is a decent film from a film series that puts out several crappy to decent films every year. Check this out if you want a horror film with an interesting plot, but don’t expect to be wowed.