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  Parallel Mirror Mirror In The Attic, What's The Price Of Being Fanatic?
Year: 2018
Director: Isaac Ezban
Stars: Aml Ameen, Martin Wallstrom, Georgia King, Mark O'Brien, Alyssa Diaz, Josh Blacker, Kathleen Quinlan, Chad Crowchuck, Michael Kopsa, Carrie Genzel, Bill Dow, Leana Brodie, Arpad Balogh, Samantha Hodhod, Shannon Chan-Kent, David Harewood
Genre: Thriller, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In this house in Seattle, all appears to be well, the middle-aged couple who own it are tucked up in bed, attending to a few tasks before they turn the lights out, but then they hear the dog bark, and the wife (Kathleen Quinlan) gets up and ventures downstairs to feed the pet to keep it content. However, as she is in the living room a masked figure looms up behind her and sticks the muzzle of a gun in her back, ordering her to sit down. Yet even as she does so, the mystery person grabs a pillow and uses it as a silencer as the woman is shot in the head. And when the mask comes off, it reveals the dead woman's doppelganger has murdered her - then she goes back upstairs and climbs into bed with the husband.

As if nothing has happened! But we know something strange has indeed happened, and this is the trigger for the rest of the movie, which does not concern the impostor, more the mirror she has left behind in the attic. When a group of four friends, all tech designers, move into said house they are more wrapped up in work than interested in exploring their surroundings, but one day after a pressure-filled workplace experience seeing a deadline for creating a parking app that could transform their careers looming, they discover the mirror and fathom its purpose to allow access to parallel universes. But now they have this power, will they use it for good or will they - aw, you don't really need to ask that question, do you?

Of course it corrupts them, what else would it do? So no matter how well-meaning, say Devin (Aml Ameen) is in trying to use the mirror to find his deceased father who committed suicide after his business went badly wrong, there's always Leena (Georgia King) who uses it to copy other expensive paintings and establish an artist career. But they're not even the worst of it, with Noel (Martin Wallstrom) and Josh (Mark O'Brien) initially goofing around, then turning to crime, starting off by stealing their doubles' credit cards and borrowing a fortune on them they will never need to pay back. Yet for all this apparent freedom the quartet now have, they are actually being imprisoned by the mirror and its infinite possibilities, as it becomes an addiction none of them are willing to relinquish.

You have seen this sort of affair before, the deal with the Devil (except there's no Devil incarnate here) that corrupts the participants until there is no hope of redemption, it's in anything from Shallow Grave to A Simple Plan, but the fantastical element here gave proceedings a little kick that was well-imposed by director Isaac Ezban. Maybe more than a little kick, as after a while he made it deliberately difficult to keep track of who was doing what to whom and why, throwing in references to the Mandela Effect, that internet meme the forgetful or inattentive use to claim they are in a parallel universe themselves. That shifting sand under the characters' feet eventually became an end in itself, which was fine but did not allow much more resonance than the old "power corrupts" finger-wagging lesson, and the conclusion looked like they were unsure how to end it, but if you fancied a dose of high concept science fiction with a bite to its black humour, then this would fit the bill nicely. Music by Edy Lan.

[Parallel comes to DVD and digital 14 June 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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