A Movie A Day #272: Mirror Mirror (1990, directed by Marina Sargenti)

Following the death of her husband, Susan Gordon (Karen Black) relocates to Los Angeles with her teenage daughter, Megan (Rainbow Harvest).  An angry goth girl who always wears black and bears a superficial resemblance to Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice, Megan struggles to fit in at her new school and quickly attracts the unwanted attention of the school’s main mean girl, Charlene Kane (Charlie Spradling).  Fortunately, Megan has an old and haunted mirror in her room that can not only bring her rotting father back to life but which Megan can also use to kill all of her tormentors.

Of the many rip-offs of Carrie, Mirror Mirror is one of the best and I am surprised that it is not better known.  The plot, with a teenage girl using paranormal powers to get revenge on all of the bullies at her school, may be familiar but Mirror Mirror is better executed than most of the other films of its ilk.  The script is full of snappy dialogue and, despite the low budget, the special effects are effectively grisly.  There’s a scene that does for garbage disposals what Jaws did for the water.  One thing that sets Mirror Mirror apart from similar films is that Megan is sometimes not a very sympathetic character.  Unlike Carrie, who was scared of her powers and only used them once she was pushed over the edge, Megan is initially very enthusiastic about using the mirror to get revenge for every slight, real and perceived.

The cast also does a good job, with Karen Black giving one of her least restrained performances.  Keep an eye out for Yvonne DeCarlo playing a realtor and William Sanderson as Susan’s strange new boyfriend.  The best performance comes from Rainbow Harvest, a talented actress who appeared in a handful of movies in the 80s and 90s and then appears to have vanished from the face of the Earth.  Believe it or not, Rainbow Harvest was her real name.

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