Notable Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, Rory Cochrane, Katee Sackhoff
Killer mirrors. It’s not necessarily a new subject matter when it comes to horror. Hell, we even had two entries into the Mirrors franchise, which the original was a remake to begin with. Yet, I was still hesitant to dive into Oculus despite some of its rave reviews and recommendations from friends. Could a killer mirror film truthfully be as good as people claimed? Oculus IS that good. Director/writer Mike Flanagan crafts a thoughtful and utterly creepy flick that dominates as one of the best horror films of the year. Enough so that I feel bad to not support the film when it came out in theaters.
Tim (Thwaites) has just been discharged from a mental hospital. His sister Kaylie (Gillan) is eager to help him get back on his feet in the real world. She insists that he help fulfill his promise to her first. To prove that the massive mirror in their house is what drove their father (Cochrane) insane. To prove it played tricks to entrap their mother (Sackhoff). To end its decades of deception that has devoured countless owners before it. Can they stop the evil Lasser Glass or will history simply repeat itself?
|"What's that? Oh my, it's a reflection!"|
Oculus is a horror movie though and no matter how artful the structure and plot progressions are, as horror fans we want to know if the film is scary or not. Well Oculus only plays up ‘boo’ scare factors sparsely unlike so many other ‘ghost’ and psychological horror flicks do. Here Flanagan instead focuses on crafting an deep atmosphere and uses visuals and disturbing concepts to scare us rather than full on gore or jump scares. Although both the gore and jump scares are present, it’s this thoughtful creepy factor that truly makes Oculus work like it does. It gets to the point that the audience is more concerned with figuring out if the horror is real or a trick of the mirror and that sets us up for those gore and jumps to be as effective as possible. We root so strongly for our protagonists not to fall into the influence of the mirror that when we see something as simple as the sister bite into an apple (which may or may not be a lightbulb) we are screaming at the top of our lungs for her not to…in a way falling into the mirror’s influence ourselves and letting our own perceptions of the film be tricked.
|"I've got your back...FROM THE GRAVE."|