Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Written By: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 44 min
I think horror is arguably the most subjective movie genre there is, so while I was getting more and more wound up watching Oculus, I heard other people in the audience laughing. They were either seriously freaked out by the film, and employing some sort of psychological coping mechanism. Or, they just thought Oculus was hilariously bad. I’m thinking it was the latter, sadly.
I did not find Oculus funny at all, but I thought the story was very interesting. Perhaps because it appealed to my scientific sensibilities as Kaylie Russell (Karen Gillan) goes to great pains to prove the murder of her parents was caused by a supernatural antique mirror. She sets up cameras, computers and even timers to remind her and her brother to eat and drink. She even has her boyfriend call in every hour to help keep them grounded in the real and present. As the story progresses and starts jumping between their childhood encounter with the mirror and the present day, Kaylie’s careful planning quickly unwinds, and what’s real or fake becomes an issue for everyone in this story.
Oculus opts for a creepy tone over in your face scares and gore. Some elements of the story are a little predictable, but I honestly felt a growing sense of dread as I watched the film. This mirror is seriously evil that’s for sure! I put the effectiveness of Oculus mainly down to its great cast. Karen Gillan is especially effective, as was Annalise Basso who plays the younger Kaylie Russel.
There are very few attempts to make you jump out of your skin in Oculus. This film may feel a little slow for some, but it’s all part of the plan to build tension and keep you off-balance as past and present are intertwined, and even combined. This horror film isn’t a massive blood bath either.
This isn’t an overly visual experience, so a regular DVD at home on your TV, Laptop or Tablet will serve the film well enough. If you don’t want to wait for the rental, then a matinée is recommended.
The ladies. Karen Gillan, Annalise Basso and Katee Sackhoff all turn in great performances in Oculus.