5 July 2016 | drownnnsoda
Kellerman and McDowall can't quite save this
"Mirror, Mirror 2: Raven Dance" follows an orphaned teenager, Marlee, and her young brother who are sent to a remote convent after their parents die in a car accident. While there, Marlee is electrocuted in a bizarre accident, and temporarily loses her vision. Her significantly older stepsister (Sally Kellerman) arrives with a doctor (Roddy MacDowall), both of whom have a sinister plan to incapacitate her and take control of her inheritance, but a mysterious mirror in the convent housing supernatural powers has other plans.
A mostly-unrelated sequel to the original 1990 film, "Mirror, Mirror 2: Raven Dance" is a stilted and generally poorly-written film that is a significant letdown from its predecessor. The first film, while not a masterpiece, was a solid genre entry that marked the end of eighties horror; this sequel, however, is disappointing on several levels.
One of the film's major pitfalls is its haphazard editing, which leaves the vast majority of the film feeling disjointed, if not downright confusing at times. The second major stickler is the writing, which is supplanted with drawn-out, unrealistic dialogue, and further disjointedness as characters go in and out of the story without explanation; the themes and images surrounding the raven and Marlee's dance career are half-baked at best, and their relationship to everything else happening with the mirror is rather bewildering. The film is also chock full of early-nineties laser beam special effects, which are laughable by today's standards.
Tracy Wells, the lead of the film, is awful in the role, though not as bad as the boy playing her brother. With her role being the center of the film, it's difficult to stay engaged with such a hammy performance. Sally Kellerman and Roddy MacDowall—both of whose involvement with the film I can't quite understand—rise above the material as much as they can. Veronica Cartwright is as shrill as she always is, this time playing a hysterical blind nun, but she brings some character to the picture. A young and admittedly suave Mark Ruffalo plays a ghostly bad boy, and has a few decent scenes, one with Kellerman which may be the highlight of the film.
The film does have a few positive elements, however: the cinematography is actually quite nice, and the blue-tinted perspective shots from the mirror are surreal and creepy. The Catholic orphanage is also extremely atmospheric and is nicely photographed. In spite of the film's general disjointedness, the ending is quite clever, and because of it, I ended up not completely hating the film.
Overall, "Mirror, Mirror 2: Raven Dance" is a fairly poor sequel to the original film. It falters as a result of its terrible lead actress, choppy editing, and a weak, underdeveloped script. Sally Kellerman and Roddy MacDowall are nice presences to have in the film, so it may be of some intrigue to their respective fans. Aside from that and the respectable cinematography, I think the best part of the film was getting to see a young, ridiculously handsome Mark Ruffalo at the beginning of his career. 4/10.