Every horror film has its own genre that it falls into that appeals for different kinds of horror fans. We have the gore horror, the sexy horror (where there’s a really hot chick doing really dumb things like running around half naked, taking showers or screwing someone), the suspense horror, the I’m-going-to-hold-the-camera-and-record-every-second-of-our-demise horror, the classic black and white horror, the freakin’ make you SCREAM horror, and the horror legends (Nightmare on Elm St, Friday the 13th, Children of the Corn). Oculus falls under ‘suspense horror’ it may not cause you to scream but it will give you start while at the same time screw with your mind. And I think that’s just awesome.
The movie starts with young adult Tim Russell played by Brenton Thwaites (Blue Lagoon: The awakening, Knocked for Six, Home and Away) just being released from a psych hospital after being locked away for the murder of his father Alan Russell played by Rory Cocharne (Parkland, Argo, Bringing Up Bobby). Ready to move on with his life Tim has convinced himself that the death of his parents ten years ago was just unfortunate circumstance. His dad was a cheating lunatic who tortured and killed their mother Marie Russell played by Katee Sackhoff (Riddick, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, A Deadly Obsession) and he shot him. End of story. However reunited with his older sister Kaylie played by Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Not Another Happy Ending, We’ll Take Manhattan) she is quick to douse water on that reasoning reminding him that it was actually the antique mirror their father kept in his study that took over their parents and caused their demise. Not only that, she’s going to prove it.
For the sake of clearing her brother and father’s name Kaylie has found and returned the mirror to their childhood home now rigged with camera’s to prove the supernatural force behind the antique furniture. Interesting enough both children are at each other’s throats trying to prove the other is either brain-washed or insane but that dispute ends real quick when the mirror wakes up to finish what it started years ago.
I loved this! I really did! Throughout the movie I kept thinking ‘Geeze this mirror is really F-ing with their heads!’ Because the way the mirror fights back is with dark illusions (which is how an evil mirror should fight back) and because this all takes place in the same home the horror started at a decade ago the mirror manipulates it so that past and present are blurred.
In this way we get two stories in one. How clever are you director Mike Flanagan? The story of the battle taking place between the siblings and the mirror right now and the story of the Russell family’s fall to victims of the mirror years before. I’ll admit it take some getting used to. The sudden switches to past and present and back again; but it soon becomes a pattern that keeps you hooked and heart pounding to see exactly how it plays out. And Flanagan plays it out perfectly.
Another thing Flannagan did that I’m actually a little upset about; he made me care about the stupid characters. Which is something you never want to do when it comes to horror! I mean yeah Kaylie came in a little headstrong and pompous at first but darn it later on I began to feel bad for her and her brother and I just really wanted them to get through this night unscathed! But hey this is horror and you don’t get happy endings. I mean you can but then, in my opinion, it’s not really good horror. And the thing about caring about the characters and having a sad ending is that it’s gonna hit you all the more harder. And it did. Some people in the theater seemed upset with the way it ended because of how sudden it was. I think it was perfect.
Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie a 71% fresh rating and I really think it deserves better. Rated R for terror, violence, disturbing images and language.
For the movie goer looking for a new thrill and the horror fan who loves mind screwing suspense. Go see this movie.