Look Away – USA, 2018

Look Away is a 2018 American horror feature film written and directed by Assaf Bernstein. It tells the story of Maria, an alienated high-school student whose life is turned upside down when she switches places with her sinister mirror image. The movie stars India Eisley, Mira Sorvino and Jason Isaacs.

Maria (India Eisley), a rejected teenage girl finds solace from the torments of high-school and her alienating parents in her own mysteriously autonomous mirror image.

Through the looking glass, she finds a friend who listens, encourages and guides her. Her reflection knows all of her secret desires and darkest dreams. After all, they are one and the same. With the help of her secret ‘twin’ in the mirror, Maria slowly gains confidence and finds her place as a young woman.

But at the winter prom, it all blows up in her face. Maria becomes, yet again, the school’s laughing stock. Humiliated and lost, she places herself in the hands of her reflection, and trades places with her. When the darker twin takes over, repressed sexuality and ferocious violence erupt with an intoxicatingly dangerous sense of freedom.

The new version of Maria embarks on a mysterious quest for revenge against all who have wronged her. It is only when the reflection’s dark side almost spins out of control that the film’s real question gnaws its way to the foreground: Is the reflection real or is Maria slowly losing her mind? When Maria talks to her reflection, is she actually talking to herself?

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

” …it allows us to watch our protagonist go rogue on high school and its students, all while delivering a constant unnerving feeling to the audience. You can do a lot worse. This one’s fun enough to be worth the time investment. It’s not the scariest movie but it’s enjoyable, engaging, and somewhat campy. And that’s pretty solid for a direct-to-video horror movie.” CineMarter

” …Look Away is a deeper than average exploration of the horrors of adolescence. The storytelling elements are a bit scattered, but production and presentation are excellent. There are elements of Look Away that make it something of a spiritual successor to 2009’s The Unborn.” Josh Millican, Dread Central

“The setup is ambiguous enough that we’re not laughing at it, but it’s also, perhaps, too vague. Too much certainty likely would have ruined this material, but the extreme ambiguity becomes a significant issue, too. We want to sympathize with Maria, but no matter how one interprets what’s happening to her, Look Away keeps us at a distance from the character.” Mark Dujsik, Mark Reviews Movies

“The final shot of the film, set up earlier with what just seems like interesting aesthetics, is a home-run payoff after some slight weakness and stalling in the third act, which feels ever-so-slightly uncertain about committing to be the movie that is as intelligent and surprising as it ultimately is.” Michael J. Epstein, Without Your Head

For a modern telling of story like Carrie of a tormented girl, Look Away takes a literal approach in the disguise of a fractured mind. I would even say it does horror themed dissociative identity disorder better than the 2017 hit Split, if not without the cool superhero ties. Horror fans who want to experience the agony of high school life for a teenage girl, Look Away does it as well as anyone has in horror since 1976.” The Headless Critic, Without Your Head

Cast and characters:

  • India Eisley as Maria
  • Mira Sorvino as Amy
  • Jason Isaacs as Dan
  • Penelope Mitchell as Lily
  • Harrison Gilbertson as Sean
  • Kristen Harris as Naomi
  • Adam Hurtig as English teacher
  • John C. MacDonald as Mark
  • Connor Peterson as younger brother
  • Cristina Segovia as (voice)

Release:

Look Away received a limited US theatrical release on 12 October 2018 and is now available on VOD.

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