Maria (India Eisley) is a seventeen-year-old high schooler who is struggling to get by. She feels misunderstood by her parents Dan (Jason Isaacs) and Amy (Mira Sorvino), he a cosmetic surgeon who believes that looking good on the outside equates to feeling good on the inside, and she who only wants her daughter to be happy, so much so that she is rather too invested in it for her own contentment. Maria only has one friend, Lily (Penelope Mitchell), a promising figure skater she has known since they were toddlers, but even Lily may not be completely on her side. As Maria looks in the mirror, she contemplates her misery - and her reflection stares back at her, intently.
Haunted mirrors are not a new concept in horror fiction, one of the great horrors is anthology Dead of Night which devotes a whole segment to one, so it was wise not to approach Look Away hoping for too much originality, resembling as it did a cross between two Stephen King novels, Carrie and The Dark Half. That was because Maria is a bullied teen much like Carrie White, and she takes her revenge by unleashing an alter ego who she initially does not fully endorse, and then comes to fear as the embodiment of all that was evil inside her soul, which she has kept suppressed since when everyone seems like they're out to get you, suppression is your natural reaction.
Eisley was a promising twentysomething when she made this, an important fact to remember age-wise when her role involved two or three nude scenes, one full frontal, which as she was a very young-looking person was more designed to make the viewer uncomfortable than salacious, especially in the final example where Maria was confronting Dan. Appearances were important all over in this, not just because the protagonist and her evil double looked the same if they did not act the same, but because of an impression that the way you looked was an important gauge of how you were psychologically, a deceptive point of view this warned you against embracing too heartily.
Considering Maria was such a mousey girl, we should be glad this worm is turning and she is finally standing up for herself, yet this was a horror flick and you will be aware that means events will turn to violence before long. For around the first half we concentrated on her failed attempts to fit in and please those around her whose opinion she could well do with changing from seeing her as a victim to be pitied or despised, but after years of fulfilling that part, they're not about to allow her to take on a different persona now. That was apart from Amy, who is suffering herself, not simply thanks to suspecting her husband is having an affair, but because of the origins of her daughter: as we see in the somewhat daft first scene, an ultrasound scan reveals Maria and her twin fighting in her womb.
However that would work. Anyway, it sets up the conflict that implies you are responsible for how others see you, so if you establish yourself as the alpha male, for instance, as Maria's chief tormentor at school Mark (John C. MacDonald) does, then that's how people will regard you, and offer you a pass for some pretty awful behaviour should you be inclined to want to try that. Maria's double who swaps places with her, on the other hand, is a bastardisation of that power play, which was never that healthy in the first place, let's not forget, and her endeavours to gain a social foothold that will improve her self-esteem are predictably skewed when she regards murder as a perfect leveller. Eisley was the main strength to this, adept at both the bullied character and the table turning Airam, her counterpart, creating a convincing contrast that nevertheless was believable as the same person, only in two poles of personality. It was well-shot, moody, and while silly in places had something more on its mind than jump scares. Music by Mario Grigorov.