11+ Horror Films That Will Make You Fear Mirrors 

As if confronting yourself isn’t scary enough, many films imply that more terrorizing entities wait beyond the reflective glass. Here is a list of films that will make you fear mirrors.

Oculus (2013) was Mike Flanagan’s second feature film as writer and director, and it’s still one of his best. (pictured: Katee Sackhoff)

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The cinema screen reflects humanity, much like a mirror. Perhaps with both, there is a slight distortion. Because of this occasional distortion, mirrors are the center of many haunting urban myths and legends. Tales such as “Bloody Mary” tell of long-lost souls, trapped forever within a mirror. Other ancient literature, such as the Bible, has eerie quotes regarding mirrors. “For now we see through a glass, darkly…” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Many religions and regions have myths regarding mirrors. All say the same thing, that the glass is a portal that connects our world to the land of the dead. 

Though seen as mundane objects by some, horror filmmakers have transformed the looking glass into powerful symbols of paranoia and the uncanny. While many regard the use of mirrors as a modern horror trope, films that tie horror and mirrors were made 100+ years ago. The 1921 silent film “Seven Years Bad Luck” revolves entirely around the fear that a shattered mirror inspires in a person. Like that film, the ones on this list delve into the psychological horror of distorted reflections and distorted reality. All the while making the audience wonder; Is there something, someone on the other side of the mirror? And, what would happen if they escaped? Keep reading to find out.

Films That Will Make You Fear Mirrors

Prince of Darkness (1987)

Light shines from inside a mirror in Prince of Darkness (1987).
Prince of Darkness is the second in John Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy” that also includes The Thing (1982) and In the Mouth of Madness (1994).

John Carpenter’s cosmic-horror masterpiece utilizes mirrors as one part of a story that ties religion and science together in fascinating ways. In addition to prophetic dreams and a sentient green liquid secreted away in a church basement, it is revealed that mirrors can be used as portals to a dimension where the Anti-God waits. As the living members of the crew investigating the church dwindle as possessions take over, a battle for the fate of the world takes place in front of a mirror.

Night of the Demons (1988)

Partiers stare into a mirror in Night of the Demons (1988).
The partygoers in Night of the Demons attempt to perform a “past life séance” using a mirror, but the only thing the mirror shows is death.

Angela just wanted to scare her classmates. It’s Halloween, and they all think she’s a weirdo, but she intends to get a little retribution for their judgmental attitudes. Unfortunately for everyone, Angela is too good at setting up scares. In Night of the Demons, Angela’s party at an abandoned mortuary becomes a celebration of blood and death when a séance using a mirror reveals a monstrous entity. The mirror is smashed, and the demonic force awakens.

Mirror Mirror (1990)

A mirror shines in the darkness in Mirror Mirror (1990).
Mirror Mirror was followed by three sequels with the final movie in the series releasing in the year 2000.

A bullied teenager, Megan (Rainbow Harvest), moves into a new home with her mother Susan (Karen Black). Megan finds an old mirror in the house and begins to realize that is has power. The power to fulfill wishes, no matter how dark. Megan uses this to her advantage, not realizing that the demon inside the mirror is slowly tightening its grasp on her.

Candyman (1992)

Virginia Madsen and Kasi Lemmons in Candyman (1992).
Candyman is an adaptation of Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden.” (pictured: Virginia Madsen as Helen Lyle and Kasi Lemmons as Bernadette Walsh)

While studying urban legends, Helen (Virginia Madsen) comes across “Candyman.” The mortal behind the myth, Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd), was a man killed in a racially charged murder. The legend, Candyman, is a murderous entity with a hook for a hand. Helen investigates if either truly exists while more and more people are killed in mysterious circumstances. Eventually, Helen’s skepticism fades into fear. She realizes that Candyman waits in the mirror, waiting to be called. 

Amityville: A New Generation (1993)

A man looks at his reflection in a cursed mirror in Amityville: A New Generation (1993).
Amityville: A New Generation is the seventh movie in the original Amityville film series.

As the Amityville movie franchise spun out of control with sequel after sequel, the films began using cursed objects to spread the evil of the Amityville house far and wide. Objects include a lamp, a clock, a confessional booth, a doll house, and, in the case of Amityville: A New Generation, a haunted mirror. The mirror came from the house at 112 Ocean Avenue, and its new owner, the son of a man who lived in the house prior to the DeFeo family murders but who was also murder, attempts to prevent the mirror from influencing him into becoming a killer himself.

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Harry sees his parents in the Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001).
The word “erised” in The Mirror of Erised is “desire” spelled backwards.

On his eleventh birthday, orphaned Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) learns of his true identity as a wizard. When he attends a school for wizardry he has fun exploring the castle’s many dark chambers with his friends. Until he finds The Mirror of Erised. The mirror has a special power; it reflects the onlooker’s deepest desires. Though the mirror seems innocent at first, even helpful, many people waste away in front of the glass. Slowing losing their sanity as they gaze into the fantasy they can never obtain on their side of the mirror. Lord Voldemort’s (Harry’s arch nemesis) true identity is revealed to him in the face of this mirror.

Dark Mirror (2007)

Lisa Vidal in Dark Mirror (2007).
The co-writer of Dark Mirror, Matt Reynolds, has a small credited acting role in Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan, which is Mike Flanagan’s 2006 short film that was later adapted into the feature film Oculus. (pictured: Lisa Vidal in Dark Mirror)

Deborah (Lisa Vidal), a photographer, moves her family into a new home. She is instantly captivated by the stunning glass that makes up the old house’s structure. Beautiful windows may be appealing from the outside, but a far more enchanted glass awaits within. When paranormal forces terrorize the house, Deborah is convinced that malicious entities are leaking from the house’s many reflective surfaces. 

Mirrors (2008)

A room of mirrors in Mirrors (2008).
The writing team of Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur also collaborated on movies including High Tension (2003), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), P2 (2007), and Maniac (2012).

Unable to find other work, a suspended policeman (Kiefer Sutherland) works as a security guard. He is assigned to a burned-down department store. The abandoned store is full of mirrors that have the power to possess onlookers through their reflection. Trying to break these mirrors doesn’t work, for they are not just glass. They are open doorways, just waiting for someone to fall into. Shooting in a set full of mirrors was a challenge for the filmmakers, as the location is covered in reflective surfaces. “Each frame is a gamble when you put the camera in front of a mirror,” says director Alexandre Aja of filming with mirrors “You’re always at the edge of your reflection.”

Oculus (2013)

Karen Gillan stands in front of a haunted mirror in Oculus (2013).
Karen Gillan costars in Oculus.

Mirrors hold superficial, and even spiritual significance. Can they also commit homicide? Siblings Kaylie and Tim believe their antique mirror is responsible for the death of their parents. This beautiful and haunted mirror holds demons, ready to jump out at whoever gazes into the surface of the mirror that holds them. On discussing the spiritual importance of mirrors, director Mike Flanagan says, “I learned about the tradition in the Jewish faith where they’ll cover a mirror at a funeral to prevent souls from coming back through and I thought that was terrifying.”  

Look Away (2018)

India Eisley looks into a mirror in Look Away (2018).
India Eisley stars in Look Away in the double role of Maria and Airam.

Is our reflection another version of ourselves entirely? For Maria, her reflection is a dark twin who will do anything to switch places. When bullying from her classmates and her own family gets out of hand, switching places with her reflection (appropriately named Ariam) doesn’t seem so bad. What will this darker version of Maria do on the other side of the glass, now that she finally gets a chance to live? 

Behind You (2020)

Elizabeth Birkner holds a candle while looking into a mirror in Behind You (2020).
Behind You was co-written and co-directed by Matthew Whedon and Andrew Mecham. (pictured: Elizabeth Birkner as Claire)

After moving in with their aunt, two sisters learn that her house is stranger than they thought. Upon exploring they realize that every mirror in the house is covered. When visions of their deceased mother lure them into the locked basement, they learn why. Between rituals and exorcisms, this family learns that the scariest entity is the one standing in the mirror behind you. “Mirrors play a part in it, but not merely as a mechanical device,” says director Matthew Whedon of the deeper meaning in mirrors. “There is also a sense in which the evil is really a reflection of the characters themselves.”

More Films That Will Make You Fear Mirrors

  • The Witch’s Mirror (1962) – Using a mirror as a portal, a dead woman takes revenge on her husband, who killed her years ago. 
  • Deep Red (1975) – A mirror plays a pivotal role in the mystery of this giallo from Dario Argento.
  • Poltergeist (1982) – Though the static-filled television set is the main iconic image of the original Poltergeist, a scene in which a man peels his own face off in front of a mirror is one of many memorable moments throughout the film.
  • Evil Dead II (1987) – Ash (Bruce Campbell) struggles with his growing evil side while looking into a mirror in this splatstick classic.
  • Poltergeist III (1988) – Fleeing a vicious spirit, Carol Anne moves into her aunt’s apartment. The tall high-rise she now lives in can’t keep out the spirit she sees in every reflective surface. 
  • Into the Mirror (2003) – This South Korean movie was the original inspiration for the 2008 movie Mirrors, though the initial Mirrors script was heavily rewritten before filming.
  • Bloody Mary (2006) – Nurses invoke the spirit of Bloody Mary. Soon, blood covers the hospital walls. Finally free, Mary’s path of vengeance will be a bloody one. 
  • The Broken (2008) – When a mirror shatters, a mystery unfolds, leading a woman to meet her doppelgänger. 
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) – In the epilogue of this remake, Freddy smashes his way through a mirror to get one final kill before the credits roll.
  • Parallel (2018) – A group of friends discovers what looks like a mirror but is a portal to the multiverse. When they start using the portal for personal gain, disaster quickly follows. 

Further Reading

Meet The Author

Kasey Rae is an artist, writer, and filmmaker, residing in the mountains of New York. Her favorite horror films are Nightmare on Elm Street and The Descent.