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Oculus (2014)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Mike Flanagan

Starring:
Brenton Thwaites/Tim
Karen Gillan/Kaylie
Katee Sackhoff/Marie
Rory Cochrane/Alan
PLOT-CRUNCH
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.
THE LOWDOWN
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?
GORE
We get some blood here and there, open wounds, a throat stabbing and a grisly impaling.
T & A
The mirror was naked.
BOTTOM LINE
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!
BULL'S EYE
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!
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5:55PM on 04/13/2014

Went last night (spoiler, kinda)

An attempt at a fresh way of telling a story that's been beaten to death. I would have been fine with this "meh" movie if it wasn't for Karen Gillan's terrible performance. The whole theater was laughing at almost every line she said, it's that bad.

I appreciate your review Arrow. I'm proud that you rate a movie based on your personal experience, not how you think your readers want you to rate the movie. Thanks for keeping it real! And hopefully your positive review will help these
An attempt at a fresh way of telling a story that's been beaten to death. I would have been fine with this "meh" movie if it wasn't for Karen Gillan's terrible performance. The whole theater was laughing at almost every line she said, it's that bad.

I appreciate your review Arrow. I'm proud that you rate a movie based on your personal experience, not how you think your readers want you to rate the movie. Thanks for keeping it real! And hopefully your positive review will help these companies continue to make horror movies!

But for me, the child actors way out due the grown ups in this dead horse. I'd give it a 3/10.

*SPOILER KINDA*
I'm glad the movie ended the way it did. A slight redemption for making me sit through that awful acting.
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+1
3:35AM on 04/12/2014

Saw this today

I really enjoyed it although I didnt find it scary either. Spooky yes, with a couple of jumps, but not truly frightening. The back and forth was a bit confusing at times but I really did enjoy this film. I thought the girl who played the young Kaylie was incredibly good.
I really enjoyed it although I didnt find it scary either. Spooky yes, with a couple of jumps, but not truly frightening. The back and forth was a bit confusing at times but I really did enjoy this film. I thought the girl who played the young Kaylie was incredibly good.
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10:24PM on 03/27/2014
I haven't seen a horror movie this year in theaters. This one will be the first. It looks interesting. I need a good scare.
I haven't seen a horror movie this year in theaters. This one will be the first. It looks interesting. I need a good scare.
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11:12AM on 03/27/2014

Looked bad at first...

I will give it a chance. It has a Mirrors vibe and stars Amy Pond from Dr. Who.
I will give it a chance. It has a Mirrors vibe and stars Amy Pond from Dr. Who.
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11:08AM on 03/27/2014

Saw this last night at Stanley Film Fest

I live up in Estes Park, CO where some know is where the iconic Stanley Hotel is located. The Stanley Hotel is the hotel that inspired Stephen king to write The Shining and even had some of the tv series filmed there. Last night as a kick off to the second annual Stanley Film Fest, an independent horror film fest, I got the chance to watch this movie with its director and producer. I went into this thinking that it was going to be just another generic "haunting' kind of movie..... I was wrong.
I live up in Estes Park, CO where some know is where the iconic Stanley Hotel is located. The Stanley Hotel is the hotel that inspired Stephen king to write The Shining and even had some of the tv series filmed there. Last night as a kick off to the second annual Stanley Film Fest, an independent horror film fest, I got the chance to watch this movie with its director and producer. I went into this thinking that it was going to be just another generic "haunting' kind of movie..... I was wrong. I really really liked this movie A LOT, and after hearing from the director and knowing how invested he was in this story, it made me like it even more. Even with 'The Shining" being a clear inspiration to this film, It was impressive to see the cast take the story a completely different direction than just the easy "im crazy so im going to kill my family", that gets old after the 2nd of 15 Paranormal Activity movie. At the end of the movie during a brief Q&A the director said something that really stuck with me and that is that he views this mirror as its own "monster" with an endless amount of stories to tell. I for one would love to see more of this "monster" in the future because it is a fresh, new and thought provoking. Go out and see this movie when it comes out April 11th, it does not disappoint!
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10:35AM on 03/27/2014

OCULUS

I believe he is a TOWSON University Film graduate. That is where I attended college. Anybody out of Baltimore, I support 100%. can't wait to dig in and watch it for myself. Good review Arrow.
I believe he is a TOWSON University Film graduate. That is where I attended college. Anybody out of Baltimore, I support 100%. can't wait to dig in and watch it for myself. Good review Arrow.
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