Directed by: Tim Hunter (River’s Edge, Every TV show you’ve ever seen)
Starring: Nicolas Cage (All of it), Robin Tunney (Deb from Empire Records!!!, The Craft, End of Days) and Marc Blucas (Knight and Day, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
What a weird time for this movie to come out. Just a few months after Netflix’ Voyeur documentary. You know, the one about that creep who watched people bang in his hotel rooms for a hundred years and felt the sudden urge to tell the world about it? The guy who looked like Colonel Sanders after an Alice in Chains concert?
Anyway, Looking Glass has Ray (Nicolas Cage) and his wife Maggie (Robin Tunney) taking over a hotel they found for sale on Craigslist as they try to escape a recent tragedy. Did you read the part where they are about to buy a fucking hotel off Craigslist? At this point the only question is how many dead people are in that thing. It’s like looking for a wife on Ashley Madison.
Ray stumbles upon the previous owners masturbation station and finds a tunnel set up to watch customers play STD Pokemon Go via a looking glass mirror in one of the hotel rooms.
Strange things start to happen and Ray ends up under suspicion of murder, suspecting other people of murder and involved in some totally weird shit. Also, there’s a big ass Sheriff (Marc Blucas) that keeps coming around being creepy as fuck and treating Ray like that bully in high school that always got way too close to your mouth with his lips, strangely looking deeply into your eyes while berating your existence. Yeah, that’s this guy.
Looking Glass isn’t a bad time at all, even if it doesn’t really go anywhere spectacular. Nic Cage is more his character from Joe (an introspective, lumbering badass) than the crazy Cage from recent VOD release Mom and Dad. Robin Tunney makes you wonder why we haven’t seen her in so much more recently and Marc Blucas does Ray Liotta in Unlawful Entry very well. The film itself is mostly straight up thriller and probably would have been better without the voyeur angle entirely. Nothing Ray saw in that room added much to the plot. The entire movie was actually about something else entirely. Although, the creepy hotel did make for an interesting atmosphere.
Though mostly a straight up thriller, a strange B-movie feel lurks beneath the surface. Tiny, hilarious moments of crazy Cage exist. Including one where Sheriff Howard screams “DID YOU DO IT?” and Cage replies “DO WHAT?” five hundred times in every single inflection possible. Hilarious (and I mean that in a good way). These odd moments make you laugh but somehow work in the confines of the film because the whole thing feels sort of strange anyway.
As an example there’s a character named Tommy; a truck driver who likes to bang it out in room ten. In an entirely serious moment (I swear to you), he drops the line “I got to do my duty to my wiener”.
So much of this ends up meaning nothing but somehow adding character to an otherwise straight up thriller. Like someone put Motel Hell into a blender with Unlawful Entry and the latter won out. Not only are there some b-movie horror feels but even a twinge of 90’s nostalgia. when movies could be weird for the sake of it. It’s refreshing to see the lead characters be unapologetically flawed without over doing it.
The story is flawed but Looking Glass still ends up being totally watchable. A decent way to spend a couple of mindless hours; watching some people be naughty. Without having to delete your browser history afterwards.
6.5/10 In Cage speak, Looking Glass is high above the Wicker Man remake and a bit below 8MM (which you should watch). If you like this review please follow me on Medium and slap a clap on it! That sounded weird. Hit me up at James.M.Holtz@gmail.com