Film Review: Through The Looking Glass (2012)

 

Film:  Through The Looking Glass
Director:  Craig Griffith
Starring:  Paul McCarthy, Jonathan Rhodes, Mike Langridge, Ros Povey
Release Date:  10/31/12 (DVD)
Studio:  The Workshop Presents…
Tagline:  What’s your reflection?
Plot:  “The Artist lives alone in a foreboding old house in the country. Once prolific, he is now a desperate man at odds with his work and unable to paint. When he discovers a mysterious package left on his doorstep, The Artist finds a strange mirror within and soon becomes wracked by horrific visions. Beguiled by the mirror, his work becomes fuelled by the visions as he paints like never before.  However, disturbing things soon begin to happen to him and those who enter the house. Escalating with each vision, with each brush stroke the mirror’s grip on The Artist tightens. Can the artist untangle himself from the mirror’s creeping influence before it is too late?” (Source: theworkshoppresents.com)

Review Score:  5 / 5

The modern age of digital technology has sparked an interesting conundrum in filmmaking.  Just about anyone can make films with relatively no budget nor studio support these days, and many are.  But the quality of the medium’s aesthetic has started to become fragmented and lost it’s way as droves of new filmmakers arrive to showcase their potential.  They don’t start by learning the art.  Instead, we find a higher emphasis placed on drenching audiences with gratuitous visuals that lack story elements to give them purpose.  Even with a mere $9,515 USD budget, Writer/Director Craig Griffith still managed to do his homework and produce a slow, creepy descent into madness. 

We first meet The Artist (Paul McCarthy) receiving a mysterious package containing a large mirror at his studio doorstep.  The Friend (Johnathan Rhodes) arrives to stay at his place due to relationship issues at home.  The two basically go to work on their separate projects – The Artist painting and The Friend with his novel – only to catch up periodically during the day.  The mirror’s presence in The Artist’s studio isn’t felt right away, but rest assured it’s influence becomes a driver and a window into his fragile mind.  After The Model (Ros Povey) disappears within the house, and pressure from The Agent (Michael Langridge) start to mount, The Artist’s preoccupation with the mirror – and the mirror’s grip on him – grows stronger.  The final twenty minutes, which I will not reveal, are a shocking finish to the film’s build-up. 

Through The Looking Glass wears strong influences without falling into carbon-copy territory.  Films such as Stanely Kubrick’s The Shining, Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs, Michael Walker’s Chasing Sleep and Eron Sheean’s Errors of the Human Body all come to mind.  Paul McCarthy’s performance as The Artist mimics Anthony Hopkins and Jack Nicholson – iconic characters admirered as much as feared.  The other actors provide good support, but McCarthy’s lead is what drives the heart of the film. 

Chris Britton’s cinematography is notable for a DV-shot film containing lots of distant, sparse shots in hallways as well as close-ups of mirrored faces. As the film progresses, low-angle shots are used when showing the house to give a sense of powerlessness as it relates to The Artist and the situation inside.  Is the mirror a reflection of his mind, or is it an evil presence affecting his psyche?  Are the paintings his creative renderings or consciously-controlled by the mirror? 

The convicing acting, effective cinematography, and slow-turn horror really makes Through The Looking Glass a huge cut above other low-budget genre films.  Highly recommended to support independent cinema and seek out this film. 

Film Poster / Picture:  (c) 2012 The Workshop Presents…

Film Website / DVD purchase:  www.whatsyourreflection.com

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