Created By: angrypwnzer on May 12, 2011 Last Edited By: VioletOrange on July 9, 2017

A Different Face In The Mirror

That isn't your face in the mirror...

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OK, so your main character's been through some rough stuff. Maybe's he's being bothered by ghosts, his own insanity, an Eldritch Abomination, or some other evil. He goes into the bathroom, turns on the sink, washes his face looks up at the mirror and.....BAM! Instead of his reflection, he sees some other face, and cue the Scare Note/Psycho Strings. Their are two types of the Different Face trope:
The Foreign Face: when an entirely different person replaces the character's reflecion
The Altered Reflection: when it's the characters face, but changed in some distubing way.
Not to be confused with a Mirror Scare, in which another person's reflection is added to the mirror


  • Dr. Stein in Soul Eater, post-Kishin resurrection, sees himself in the mirror with the three-eyed Kishin symbol replacing his face

(Altered Face type)
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • May 12, 2011
    I took the liberty to edit your YKTTW. Use 2 \\ to go to the next line, not enter.

    Super Trope of The Mirror Shows Your True Self

  • May 12, 2011
    Live Action TV

    Face Palm thanks v
  • May 12, 2011
    @Rolf: Don't you mean Quantum Leap?

    • At one point in Doom 3, this happens to you if you look in a bathroom mirror.
  • May 12, 2011
    Rereading The Mirror Shows Your True Self, I think it's your trope. Could you detail the differrence ?
  • May 13, 2011
    I was actually refering to when a storyteller uses this to scare the viewer by unepectedly changing the reflection.
  • May 13, 2011
    • Often used in Stargate Verse when ancient body-swapper is involved. Also, inverses traditional The Mirror Shows Your True Self, because camera shows consciousness (which is true self), but mirror (and cameras and character's POV) shows host body
      • In Stargate SG 1 episode "Collateral Damage" alien technology was used to scan Mitchell's memory. They discovered different face in a mirror, proving that memory was someone else's and implanted into his brain. Also, face was blurred, because memory doesn't like having another person's face in a mirror.
  • May 13, 2011
    Parodied by Phelous in one of his episodes, after he died and "regenerated" a la Doctor Who. He stares into the mirror confusedly, saying, "That's the problem with Regeneration. You never know what you'll get." Sad Panda then interrupts: "You look EXACTLY THE SAME!"
  • May 13, 2011
    Batman (1989), when Jack Napier sees his face for the first time.
  • May 13, 2011
    on The Twelve Kingdoms after Yoko a taika, a person from that world that ended on ours goes into Hourai, her face turns back to her original form obviously when she sees it, she is quite shocked about it
  • May 15, 2011
    Mirror Error for pun?
  • May 15, 2011
    • Used for trippiness in Avatar The Last Airbender when Zuko was sweating out his character transformation.
    • Used in Stargate Universe to indicate who is using the place-swapping stones and whose body the character is walking around in.

    On another note, How Did We Miss This?
  • June 11, 2011
    In Casper, the Ghostly Trio do this as a prank.
  • June 11, 2011
    Happens in The X Files episode "Dream Land", when Mulder has a Freaky Friday Flip with an MIB and stands in front of a mirror for the first time. Especially eerie since for the audience, Mulder still looks like Mulder, but the mirror image is that of the MIB.
  • June 11, 2011
    While I can't say for sure, this likely happens to The Doctor after every new Regeneration. In the first episode of the New Who, the 9th is explicitly examining himself in the mirror, hinting that he's only regenerated recently and this is the first time he's had to see his own face.
  • June 11, 2011
    Thats very odd example, but it might apply?
  • June 12, 2011
    Happens Once An Episode on Quantum Leap when Sam sees the reflection of the person he leapt into. In the Pilot Movie it's a shock to the audience as well, since they don't know the premise so they don't know that Sam leapt "into" someone's life.
  • July 3, 2017
  • July 9, 2017
    • In The Big Bang Theory, the characters find a ring which was used as a prop in the The Lord Of The Rings films. Sheldon has a dream where he manages to get the ring, however, when he looks in the mirror, his face becomes Gollum's from The Lord Of The Rings. (I think this scene is a parody of a similar one from The Lord Of The Rings, but I'm not exactly sure what happens as I've never seen the films)

    • UnderTale: At one point, after completing the No Mercy Route, Frisk's reflection in puddles and mirrors would show Chara's face instead. However, this was not added into the final game.
  • July 9, 2017
    ^^ That doesn't necessarily involve a mirror.