All growing up I would hear the old adage “never judge a book by its cover”, but no one ever said “don’t judge a movie by its name”. Whenever I was out hunting for horror flicks the name Oculus always popped up, but for one reason or another, it never grabbed me. It just sounded like it was some shitty art house film that hipsters would jerk off to even though they didn’t understand it. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even read the synopsis. My mistake. Fast forward to the present and the Creature and I are neck deep into the “31 horror movies in October” challenge. Ignoring that dickish voice inside my head saying “are you kidding me?”, I decided to give it a go. From the time I hit play I spent 104 minutes mentally kicking myself in the ass for not checking this out sooner.
Oculus, a film by Mike Flanagan, is a double layered tale exploring both the past and the present of a family and their tragic encounter with a mysterious antique mirror. Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) was convicted of murdering his own father and is now, years later, released into the care of his sister, Kaylie (Karen Gillan), who is hell bent on, not only exonorating Tim of the murder, but proving that the murder was comitted by sinister paranormal forces revolving around a certain antique mirror from their childhood.
From the onset, Oculus tears into your oculur orbits with simultaneous plots that weave together the story line. Its nothing groundbreaking, its just done well. The performances keep you engaged, most notably from Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica (2004) fame. STARBUCK, BABY! The special effects are subtle yet have a definite impact. The tension building stitches in seamlessly without the “jump-scare-jamboree” that films in this subgenre tend to use as a crutch. So if you’re in the mood to just kick back, click on, and get creeped out, then Oculus is the flick for you.