If creepy teen thrillers are your thing, then be sure to check out Look Away. Written and Directed by Assaf Bernstein, this light horror film stars India Eisley as Maria, a mousy teen who trades places with her mirror twin after one too many bullies push her buttons.
While it’s clear from the trailer that Maria’s mirror twin who takes down those who wronged her is supposed to be seen as the bad guy – the woman who goes too far, Jason Isaacs, best known to many as Harry Potter‘s Lucius Malfoy, is perhaps the true villain of this film. As Maria’s plastic surgeon father, Isaacs disgustingly reflects the male gaze and societal message that nothing is more important than beauty. For example, when his daughter comes down stairs for breakfast, obviously distraught and suffering from some sort of mental illness (perhaps an anxiety disorder on top of her trichotillomania), her father send her back up stairs to put on make up. As a present to his daughter he gives her a consultation regarding the plastic surgery procedures he believes she needs.
After her father’s cruel behavior, and the abuse she suffers at school, as well as her unhealthy relationship with her best friend Lily, it’s not surprise that Maria wishes to switch places with her mirror twin, allowing her to “handle” these bullies. Eisley captivates as the dual roles of Maria and her mirror twin Airam. While clearly a beautiful woman, this 25-year-old-playing-barely-18 effortlessly portrays both a mousy teen whose true beauty is hidden by insecurity, as well as the brazen, aggressive twin who emanates confidence.
Regardless of story and tone, the cinematography of Look Away is fantastic, with cleaver angles and effects which allow for Maria and Airam to exist in the same frame performing entirely different motions split only be the “mirror” between them. Bernstein and his team created a visual masterpiece, relying on reflections, awkward silences, and shadows to create the appropriate tension and suspense, rather than defaulting to traditional (and often overused) horror aspects such as jump scares and gore. Surrounded by snowy streets, ice skating rinks, and modern style rooms – from Maria’s home, to her father’s office, to even her school – the stark settings allow the characters to stand out, isolated in solitude.
If you’re looking for a suspenseful psychological thriller this Hallween season, Look Away is for you.
In Theaters and On Demand October 12th