Although most certainly derivative of other, better films like Halloween, there is an interesting bend or two here that keep the viewers' attention.
Years ago (the fifties, by the look of things), young Lacey (Natasha Schiano) and her brother Willy (Jay Wright) witness their mother (Gillian Gordon) and her lover (Howard Grant) engaging in a little over-the-clothes dalliance. This results in some seriously abusive chastisement, which results in Willy and Lacey taking a butcher knife and sending the lover to his new abode in a polished box underground. Meddling kids!
Years later, Lacey and Willy are older and now played by the director's real life wife, Suzanna Love, and her real life brother Nicholas Love. Now that's casting! We soon learn that since that night an aunt and uncle raised the kids, their mother hasn't seen or heard from them and Willy hasn't spoken a word. I'm not sure what it did for the psyche of the kids, but the "farmhouse" they grew up in is one of those classic Dutch Colonials that looks almost exactly like the one in The Amityville Horror, right on down to those eye-like fan-shaped windows and the creepy well! I imagine it didn't do them much good, but it probably did wonders for director Ulli Lommmel's advertising budget!
In spite of the fact that Lacey is now married (to Ron James' Jake) and has a son (Raymond Boyden's Kevin), they still live on the creepy farm with Uncle Ernest (Bill Rayburn) and Aunt Helen (Felicite Morgan), which makes it pretty damned convenient when Mommy decides to start writing letters. Oh, they don't prompt Lacey to want to see her, but they sure prompt her to start having nightmares about the now worm-meat Lover taking vicious revenge upon her. One of the nightmares features her being bound by the hands and feet while in nothing but her bra and panties and dragged across a floor to be killed. This, kids, is half the reason that The Boogeyman made the Video Nasty List!
Because of this, ol' Jake gets smart and sends Lacey to a Shrink named Dr. Warren. This may seem like a contrivance to include actor John Carradine and thus get a bit of name recognition in the cast list, but really it's there to get Lacey and Jake to visit her childhood home, which is now on the market. It's there that she finds the same mirror on the wall that was there when she and her kid brother played their little game of Stabby-Stabby. You want to know what else is still there? The reflection of the man they killed, just waiting to reach out and touch Lacey (or... whomever) in vicious ways.
What does Lacey do? Why she breaks the damned thing, of course. What does that accomplish? It sets the spirit free, of course. What does Jake do? He puts the mirror back together and hangs it in their kitchen, of course. Does ol' Dr. Warren think that's a good idea? Of course.
While the concept of a "Haunted Mirror" is pretty unique and interesting (much more so than a title like "The Boogeyman" might imply), the rest doesn't amount to a whole hill of coffee beans. There are some familiar feeling shocks and surprises as the film turns into a Haunted House flick and a few things that seem to be thrown in just for the sake of being creepy. Hell, there are even some teenagers, completely unrelated to the main family, who get offed while trying to get off, just like in all kinds of other slasher flicks.
But still, this film manages to work relatively well. Every time a piece of the mirror falls off, something interesting is going to happen. Just what that interesting thing might be is kind of hard to predict. There is no single embodiment of this "Boogeyman", no masked stalker, no dreamtime killer, no camp-dwelling hockey fan. instead, anywhere his reflection can go, he's there. What can he do? Just about anything. The writers (in this case actually Suzanna Love and Ulli Lommel themselves, along with David Herschel) make sure that each upped ante is a surprise to the audience, making up new powers as they go along. While that may sound like a cheap, cheating conceit, it all manages to fall in line with their intentions, from the Poltergeist-esque scares to those things that even the family Priest (Llewelyn Thomas' Father Reilly) might not be able to best. And while all this works, it does make it all the more annoying and eye-rolling when the real weakness of the mirror is finally revealed. That's it, huh?
It's not a bad effort, though, considering that this is pretty much an indulgent piece made by a rich married couple (Dupont Heir Suzanna Love and her European Hubby Ulli Lommel). There are many tell-tale low budget moments, especially in the special effects (rich or not, self-financed isn't studio-financed), but when it works, it works, and all told, it's a nifty, if not completely slick film worth Two and One Half Stars out of Five. Actually, this film is kind of inspiring in its successes. Sure, it's mostly remembered because it was banned as a Video Nasty, but still, it's remembered fondly by many! Maybe we can all make memorable films... films that could change the world... I don't know about you, but I'm starting with the Man in the Mirror! I'm asking him to change his ways and... Oh, the man in the mirror has a butcher knife and is wearing a stocking over his face. Okay, then. Screw that. Back to my Lesbian Novels.
Didn't the words "Seven Years of Bad Luck"
mean anything to her?
Guess not... guess that's why they left
it open to a (terrible) sequel.
... Then another one eleven years after THAT!
Does that make it "Eleven Years of Bad Luck"?
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