By Kim Voynar (original publication date: 1/23/08 -- Sundance Film Festival)
I'm not what I would call a serious fan of the horror genre overall, but I do like smart horror films, and The Broken, by Cashback director Sean Ellis, was a pretty smart film. I've had some arguments the past couple days about Cashback, and while that film has its weaknesses in the story structure, Ellis's strength as a director lies in imaginative visual sequences, a skill he uses to great effect in The Broken.
Gina (Lena Headey) and her boyfriend Stefan (Melvil Poupaud) go to Gina's father's house for a surprise birthday party. Her dad, who works for the US Embassy in London, is nearing retirement. Gina's brother Daniel and his girlfriend Kate show up for the party as well; the party is nice but uneventful, until a large mirror in the dining room suddenly shatters for no apparent reason.