Director: Mike Flanagan
Runtime: 103 minutes
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, James Lafferty, Miguel Sandoval, Kate Siegel, Scott Graham, Michael J. Fourticq, Kate Parker, Justin Gordon, Bob Gebert
Description: Kaylie (Karen Gillian) tries to exonerate her brother Tim (Brenton Thwaites), who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.
Review: People used to think mirrors could capture your soul. After a death, they covered them up, afraid that the soul of the dead dragged the souls of the living into the afterlife. The mirror in “Oculus” takes lives by showing hallucinations. When leading character Kaylie is eating an apple, it’s actually a light bulb. Or is it? A scary image, a mouth full of blood, but the tension is there. And that’s why “Oculus” works.
The story starts with Tim Russell, who is being discharged from a psychiatric institution where he has been since he was 10. His father Alan tortured and killed Tim’s mom, and little Tim shot his dad. Tim’s older sister Kaylie remembers this differently. According to her an antique mirror drove Alan crazy. She has a plan to proof that the mirror has supernatural powers, but she needs her brother’s help.
“Oculus” is based on a short film “Oculus – Chapter 3: The Man with the Plan”, by director Mie Flanagan. Here a man is confronted with a demonic mirror. The short film was received well and Flanagan was asked to create a full length movie. He introduces two parallel story lines. One is set in the here and now, the other in the past. While Kaylie and Tim go back to their elderly house, you also see what happened all those years ago in the Russell family. This set up works very well. Although it sounds confusing, it really isn’t. it’s very easy to follow.
“Oculus” has some scenes that might shock you visually, but it’s more the threat then the gore that scare you. Because of the hallucinations, it’s sometimes hard for the audience to separate reality from hallucination. Both Brenton Thwaites and Karen Gillan, as Tim and Kaylie, do a great job. Rory Cochrane is also impressive, but it’s Katee Sackhoff that shines. Her role is not that big, but a memorable performance.
“Oculus” is definitely a horror movie worth watching!
Rating: 4/ 5