‘Mirror Mirror’ Reflects the Horror of Being a Teenager

Uterus Horror is a subgenre of films that focuses on the experience of growing up with a female gender expression. These films capture the act of becoming an adult and coming into your sexuality, using horror to emphasize and/or act as a metaphor for those experiences. Columnist Molly Henery, who named and defined the subgenre, tackles a new film each month and analyzes how it fits into this bloody new corner of horror.

April 30th, 2024 | By Molly Henery

Rainbow Harvest Mirror Mirror

Being a teenager can be a very confusing, stressful period in a person’s life. Not only is it a time of physical changes, but it also triggers mental and emotional turmoil as an individual learns who they are in the world. In the 1990 hidden Uterus Horror gem, Mirror Mirror, we learn just how vulnerable this period can be, especially for an isolated teenage girl. 

Marina’s Sargenti’s Mirror Mirror – from a screenplay by Annette and Gina Cascone – follows a teenage girl named Megan (Rainbow Harvest). Just a couple of months after her father’s tragic death, Megan and her mother, Susan (Karen Black), move to a new town. Already struggling with all the loss and change in her life, things at school are not much better. 

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Megan isn’t just the new kid; she’s also a shy goth girl, making her an immediate social outcast. The only friend she makes is a popular girl named Nikki (Kristin Dattilo). While being friends with Nikki means Megan isn’t totally alone, it also makes her a target for the clique of another popular girl running against Nikki for class president, Charleen (Charlie Spradling).

At home, things aren’t much better. Megan doesn’t feel that she can connect with her mother, who seems to be trying to move on too quickly for Megan’s liking. The house itself also has an odd history. The previous owner was a strange woman who was suspected of witchcraft and might have even killed her own sister. Many of the previous owner’s belongings were left at the house after she died. While most things went to auction, a large antique standing mirror was left behind in Megan’s room. 

The woman in charge of the estate auction also discovers books and journals that belonged to the previous owner. Soon, the audience learns witches commonly used mirrors as a sort of gateway for demonic entities. These demons would grant the wishes of young women, getting them to use more and more power until the demon gained full control. 

Mirror Mirror makes it clear the mirror chose Megan because she was already so isolated. Much like a cult might try to recruit a new member or a lion hunts a herd of gazelle, Megan was the easy prey. She no longer has a father, and her relationship with her mother is strained at best. At school, she has one friend, but most others mock and torment her. The demon sees this and begins to grant Megan’s wishes. 

First, Megan desperately wishes for her father to come back, not realizing the mirror is always listening. Unfortunately, this demon is much like a Djinn when it comes to granting wishes, using malicious compliance to grant the wish in a horrifying way. Megan’s father does come back to her in the middle of the night, but instead of looking how he used to, her father looks to have come fresh from the grave, decay and all. She quickly wishes him away, which the demon grants, but Megan brushes it off as a bad dream.

One day, Megan discovers the mirror dripping with blood. Instead of being afraid, Megan is drawn to it. She goes to the mirror, caressing it and licking at the drops of blood as if the mirror were her lover. It’s a disturbing visual that shows how easily the demon lures Megan in with promises of pleasure and power. Succumbing to the mirror alters Megan both on the outside and inside. She meets Nikki at a party, and when she walks into the room, many classmates don’t recognize her. She looks radiant and confident like she never did before. 

Megan’s new appearance and confidence even catch the attention of Jeff (Tom Bresnahan), a popular jock who has always been nice to Megan despite being Charleen’s boyfriend. Jeff asks Megan to dance, and afterward, Megan excitedly tells Nikki about it, saying she didn’t even wish for it, meaning Jeff must really like her. But soon after Jeff is back dancing with Charleen, so Megan runs home. This time she does wish for Jeff to want her. The demon’s power is so strong that Jeff immediately stops making out with Charleen to go to Megan. Yet, as they’re about to have sex, Jeff pulls away from Megan, seemingly confused about his feelings. This angers Megan, so the demon viciously kills Jeff and makes the body disappear. 

The more wishes Megan makes, the more the demon takes hold of her. With every life taken, the demon becomes more powerful. The next day at school, Charleen wins class president over Nikki, so Megan makes another wish, which ends with Charleen being scalded to death in the locker room showers. Megan eventually corners Nikki in a bathroom and reveals everything. She tells Nikki about her new powers. She tells Nikki that she didn’t understand them and accidentally killed Jeff, but now she has control. She also admits she killed Charleen for her so Nikki would become class president. Nikki is understandably shocked and horrified, especially when Megan uses her powers on Nikki to cause her pain and threaten her. After Nikki leaves, Megan confronts and kills a friend of Charleen’s who has been hiding in a stall listening to everything. 

Nikki still cares about Megan and is worried about her, so she seeks help from the auctioneer. At this meeting, Nikki learns about the previous owner of Megan’s house – how she killed her own sister in the hope that it would stop the bloodshed. They make a plan to stop the demon, hopefully without having to hurt Megan. Unfortunately, Megan and the demon are well aware of the plan. They psychically kill the auctioneer as well as Nikki’s boyfriend, Ron (Ricky Paull Goldin), before calling Nikki and telling her to come to Megan’s house to join them. 

Despite the increasing body count, Megan seems to be fine with the demon’s actions, even enjoying the carnage at times. What finally breaks Megan from the demon’s spell is her mother. Megan tries to go to her, but the demon locks Megan in her room and kills her mother. It’s finally clear the demon’s goal all along was to isolate Megan so she would rely on him, giving him power over the vulnerable teenage girl. Nikki is now her last lifeline to humanity. 

Nikki arrives at Megan’s house with a dagger in hand. She tries to smash the mirror, but it doesn’t even chip, and the house is thrown into chaos as the two teenagers try to find an escape. At one point, Megan ends up back in her room with the mirror. The audience is only shown glimpses as the door opens and closes over and over, but it seems Megan found Nikki’s dagger and stabs herself with it. By ending her life, the demon becomes powerless without a human to work through.

Mirror Mirror uses Uterus Horror tropes to illustrate the unexpected vulnerability of teenage girls. The outcasts, the ones who feel ostracized by their classmates and have no one to confide in, are susceptible to all sorts of evils. While in this film, the evil takes the literal form of a demon, the real-life evil can be harder to see. These girls are vulnerable to predators, cults, abusers, and more. Mirror Mirror uses a demonic entity to show how easy it is for an isolated young girl to give in to evil, just so she won’t have to feel so alone anymore. Megan is seduced and intoxicated by the supposed love, support, and power the demon gives her, turning a blind eye to the deadly horrors. She doesn’t see that the demon is isolating her further, trying to make it so he is all Megan has to rely on. 

The position Megan is in throughout Mirror Mirror is one many can relate to. In high school, that feeling of loneliness is even more powerful because it’s already a time of uncertainty and change. Megan and people like her need to have an anchor to hold on to during that confusing time in their lives. That person can be a parent, a friend, or a teacher; the important thing is having a person to confide in and support you throughout these hardships and changes. Unfortunately for Megan, she realized too late that she had anchors in both her mother and Nikki. The most vulnerable young women need that love and human connection, especially during their teenage years, lest they be seduced by the monsters of the world.

Molly Henery

Molly Henery is a film critic, entertainment writer, and author of both nonfiction and fiction with a Master's degree in professional creative writing. Molly began writing horror film reviews for her own website, The Blogging Banshee, before eventually branching out and writing for other outlets including Fangoria, Dread Central, Nightmarish Conjurings, and more. She is most well-known for her “Uterus Horror” column on Certified Forgotten which examines a different film each month in a subgenre of horror Molly named and defined. Molly has made a name for herself as a horror genre expert which has allowed her to be a guest on numerous podcasts, is a cast member of Mental Health and Horror: A Documentary, and co-authored the upcoming book, Queer Horror: A Film Guide. Keep up on what Molly is watching and writing about on her social media.

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