A Bathroom wall mirror in a horror movie scene can be ominous and foreboding since film directors typically use the object to create a “Jump Scare” effect. The versatility of mirrors is more profound in suspense or horror movies. Their use is not just to build a scary atmosphere as the movie progresses, but also to symbolize a deeper twist in the plot or in the film’s main character. Filmdom calls the purpose as one that brings on the Concept of Duality.
About Mirrors and the Jump Scare Effect
The jump scare technique of scaring or keeping viewers anxious about the next scenes, often utilizes mirrors. Mainly because their impact has been proven as very effective in numerous successful horror films.
Mirror jump scare scenes usually culminate as having a startling or jarring impact on the senses of viewers. It could even make the audience cringe in fear.
Still, film directors and cinematographers explain that mirrors are only one of several elements that make the jump scare technique effective in startling audiences. The most important factor that makes a jump scare approach effective is timing.
Building a jump scare effect with mirrors in a short period of exposure could deflate tension before it develops into feelings of fear. Too long and the mirror jump scare scenes will likely come on as boring segments. In addition to timing, sounds, lighting and camera positions also help make mirror jump scare techniques very effective in making viewers experience terror, which they eventually want to overcome before feelings of fear overwhelm them.
”The Shining” as Example of Effective Use of Mirror as a Jump Scare Element
A perfect example of a movie that demonstrates the jump scare effect is “The Shining.” The horror movie is about a family of three with the husband and wife taking on the rol3 of caretakers of a summer resort closed for the winter. Aside from the use of mirror to create jump scare effects, Director Stanley Kubrick also attempted to use mirrors in exhibiting the Concept of Duality that triggered Jack Torrance’s desire for Redrum. The latter is the husband who gradually underwent personality changes during the months of stay in the closed summer hotel. Redrum by the way, if reflected on a mirror, is Murder spelled backwards.
Although Director Stanley Kubrick also used mirrors in revealing and terrorizing the viewers about Jack Torrance’s splitting dual personality, Kubrick’s choice of Nicholson to portray the role did not have author Stephen King’s approval. The movie did not achieve box office success, which in King’s opinion is due to the lack of surprising or startling effect about Torrance’s transformation. Nicholson in real life, has been typecasted in earlier movies as a person with unstable personality. Nevertheless, Kubrick’s use of the mirror jump scare technique kept viewers on the edge of their seat