Director: Mike Flanagan
A haunted mirror messes up some poor girl (Karen Gillan) and her younger brother’s (Brenton Thwaites) lives. Ten years later they get a hold of that same mirror in the name of proving that it is truly spooked.
OCULUS is based on Mike Flanagan's and Jeff Seidman's award winning short film Oculus: The Man with the Plan. I’ve never see the latter (just watched the trailer for it though) but if I go by Oculus the feature, Mike Flanagan (who also directed the solid Absentia in 2011) has a bright horror future ahead of him! Here are a fistful of sturdy reasons as to why Oculus is worth a watch!
-The acting was tops all around! Karen Gillan (Kaylie) had the look and intensity for the role and showcased nuances. Her brother Tim played by Brenton Thwaites did a fine job as well once I was able to let go of the fact that he looked more like a Calvin Klein Model with crazy eyebrows than a “regular” person.
The child actors Annalise Basso and Garret Ryan playing our two leads in the past were also mucho efficient and so were the supporting turns by Katee Sackhoff and Rory Cochrane. Truly a stand out cast here! They sold the tomfoolery at hand!
-The narrative was smart (loved Kaylie’s strategy when it came to defeating the mirror), the chain of events gripping and the suspense thick within a subgenre that has been done many o times before. The way they unified the “past/present” storylines by way of razor editing was mucho clever and stimulating as well!
-The pace was effortless for the most part, Flanagan showcased fly shots in terms of angles and camera movements, the cinematography by Michael Fimognari was dread filled yet sumptuous and the score by The Newton Brothers was efficient in its John Carpenter-like simplicity.
-The ghosts here gave me the willies (all about them glowing eyes) and any movie that gives me THE SHINING flashbacks is doing something right!
-Finally some of the turn of events took me aback! As a guy that is an ace at second guessing horror films at this point, it felt swell to be back-handed a couple of times like a hooker that won't give up her earnings!
On the flipside, although the film had its fair share of creepy moments and it used foreboding to its advantage, I can’t say it sported many true scares. Moreover, I didn’t feel that the storyline upped the ante enough as it progressed. I kept waiting for the flick to whoop my ass, and one potent scene aside, it didn’t. It just played the same game until it crescendoed and ended. I also had mixed feelings about the constant back and forth between the present and the past. On one end it was creative, on the other, it took away from the momentum some sequences had.
On the whole though, I enjoyed my sit down with Oculus! It was spooky, well acted, with lots of talent behind it! I just don't think it will stay with me long, am not sure why, but hey that's just me. So you gonna stare into this mirror of horror or what?
We get some blood here and there, open wounds, a throat stabbing and a grisly impaling.
T & A
The mirror was naked.
I enjoyed Oculus! It was well thought-out, superbly acted, sported some unsettling imagery and the directing style had flair galore tagged to its ass! With that; the movie didn’t knock me off my seat to the sticky floor of the theatre. Was it the redundant elements that took away from it? The fact that the ante wasn’t upped like I thought it should be or was it the clever yet somewhat intrusive constant back and forth between the present and the past? It just didn’t stay with me after the end credits rolled for reasons that only my shrink knows for sure. I do recommend you see it though, it's well rounded and worth a watch!
The flick was shot in Mobile, Alabama, USA.
Brenton Thwaites is actually Australian! Great American accent, iw ouldn't hve known!
Karen Gillan also acted on the "Doctor Who" TV Show!