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Mirror, Mirror II: Raven Dance
Directed by Jimmy Clifton (1994)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Dec 14 2007
I liked the first Mirror, Mirror film. It wasn't original in any way shape or form, but it had some solid performances, a chick with a porno sounding name that looked like Winona Ryder's twin (Rainbow Harvest!), and was interesting for being written and directed by women. Mirror, Mirror II: Raven Dance was directed by Jimmy Clifton, a producer and composer on the first film so it should be decent, right? Um...no.
The story is as follows: A young dancer named Marlee (played by the chick from Mr. Belvedere
) and her brother live at a nunnery after the sudden death of their parents. A hard rock band looking for some publicity shows up at the religious institution, finds the mirror, and get electrocuted to death (seriously). Unbeknownst to Marlee, her conniving step sister and nefarious doctor (Cornelius from Planet of the Apes
) are trying to get her institutionalized in order to claim the inheritance her father left her. Seems the ugly old step-sister is none too happy about that development. Marlee has become smitten with the titular mirror and strange things start happening. Veronica Cartwright plays the blind nun who knows all about the evil in the miror and William Sanderson shows up in a different role from the first film as a loony groundskeeper/pedophile. Rounding out the cast is Mark Ruffalo, who is the token Mysterious Hot Guy.
Not good. This movie is so damn stupid. First of all, the mirror is completely neutered from what it was in the first flick. After the initial destruction of the rock band, which I still don't understand, the mirror doesn't do anything to anybody until the last 20 minutes of the movie. That's a long ass time to go with no killings. It doesn't help that the inheritance plot is totally uninteresting and unable to keep your attention. To pad out the running time, Clifton films a bunch of dance scenes (cuz that's all Marlee wants to do, DANCE, DANCE, DANCE!!!) and there is an annoying habit where every character talks to themselves. It doesn't matter what the situation is, if the character is in a room by themselves, they'll talk out loud about everything they are seeing and hearing.
The acting in this movie is bottom of the barrel. Nobody comes out of this unscathed. The little kid playing Marlee's brother is beyond bad. It's like the director just grabbed his kid brother and said "act". Everybody over acts. William Sanderson has this hilarious scene where he's all by himself, playing with dolls, and then pretending to act crazy. He starts giggling like a hyena while talking to himself. Tracy Wells is one of the most inept leading actresses I've seen in a long time. It's no surprise that she quickly disappeared from the business shortly after this film. Roddy McDowell goes through the motions, and Mark Ruffalo has absolutely nothing to do here than pop out of shadows and offer cryptic dialogue. I'm pretty sure Veronica Cartwright went blind in real life after seeing her over-the-top performance.
The worst aspects of this film is the direction. Every goddamn scene involves some sort of ugly 90's slow-motion effect. Scenes seem to cut off before they begin. For example, when Cornelius finally kicks the bucket, you see a close-up of his face disappear into the mirror...or at least I think that's what happened. It looks like the director forgot to shoot enough coverage and had to paste things together as best he could. Adding to the stupidity is when Mark Ruffalo gets stabbed in the stomach with a foot long knife...and never makes a sound. You'd think that would be worth an "ahh!" or something. They also tried to add this really shitty CGI effects. At one point, a stained glass knight appears and beheads a nun (which you don't see, by the way). Right before that, toys come to life and start shooting laser beams out of their hands. Huh?! I don't get it.
Mirror, Mirror II: Raven Dance
is a terrible sequel to a decent film. It's somewhat confusing (I'm sure that raven that attacked people in slow motion represented something, I'm still unclear as to what, though), is dreadfully slow paced, and showcases a lot of over-acting. It does try to give a nod to the original film by ending in the same manner, but that can't save it. Pass on this.
Next up on my forgotten franchise journey: Mirror, Mirror III: The Voyeur
1.5 / 10
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