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The Broken

Directed by Directed by Sean Ellis

Written by Written by Sean Ellis

Starring Starring Lena Headey, Ulrich Thomsen, Melvil Poupard, Michelle Duncan

Produced by Produced by Lene Bausager

Rated R

93 mins

**

Welcome to the second installment of the After Dark Horrorfest: Eight Films to Die For 3 series, and today we’re going to be tackling The Broken. If you’ve read these before, you may already know that I like to try and arrange them according to how I think they’ll do from worst to best in order, after the first year’s disastrous mistake of handling my favorite first. Today we’re tackling The Broken—how will it fare? Let’s find out.

When a successful radiologist notices her double driving around the streets of London, said radiologist is a little surprised. When she follows her double around, back to where her double lives, she discovers the start of a mystery that may well end up killing her. Now, with no one to trust, and a whole world seemingly out of whack, can she discover the truth?

I have to admit right off that The Broken does a surprisingly good job of building dread. There are a lot of suspenseful moments in this, and it’s frankly a downright shame that so few of them ever pay off. The whole concept of “the man (or woman, depending) in the mirror” is a spectacularly freaky—they took a run at this idea back in Mirrors, but The Broken is actually a much more cerebral and urbane version. Where Mirrors depended on jaw-pulling and throat-slitting, The Broken depends on mirror versions of people—personalities and all—in our world. How odd, how vaguely horrifying, when a person that looks just like us but thinks completely differently, is running loose in our world, our face on their bodies, our reputations in their hands.

The down side to The Broken, of course, is that they’re not exactly sure just where they’re going with all this. Why, exactly, do the mirror people want out? Do they prefer our world? Is their world an abyssal black hell from which everyone wants to leave? Or are they just ooo spooky evil and just want us all dead? I don’t know what the deal is, exactly, but the whole thing makes precious little sense.

They had a good idea, they just didn’t explain it very well, and that’s the ultimate tragedy of The Broken—it could’ve really been something, but because they didn’t add on a whole lot of exposition, most of the point is lost.

The ending does manage to do a good job of summing up the narrative as it was, but again, I was left with a whole lot more questions than answers.

The special features include a slew of trailers at the beginning and some Miss Horrorfest webisodes.

All in all, this is definitely not the Horrorfest’s finest hour—pretty far from it, in fact. It’s not necessarily a bad movie, it’s just a very incomplete movie. Frankly, if this one’s the dog of the bunch I’m in for a FANTASTIC Horrorfest.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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