Director: Mike Flanagan (2014)
First off as you guys might have noticed I am pretty easily entertained, have a pretty man take off his shirt and usually I’m applauding. But, if there is no man and no true kills in my horror, then what the hell am I watching this film for? Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge advocate of the old fashioned ghost story. Oculus tries to be that, but there’s something missing. Oh, I don’t know – could it be ghosts? You know the things that go bump in the night. These ghosts are a bit weak, rarely seen and overall boring.
We start Oculus with an opening scene of a little boy shooting his sister, only to be pulled back into present day, where we are shown a now adult man telling us what he believes happened in that past moment. A little over 10 years ago, we learn his father killed his mother and attempted to kill the boy and his sister as well. But, the boy somehow manages to shoot and kill the dad instead. But, according to the now adult sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan), it didn’t happen that way; it was the ghost who lives inside a mirror the family owned who made the father kill their mother. Ok, but why?
The ghosts that occupy the film Oculus are tied this mirror. A mirror we barely get any useful information regarding its origin. For instance, the character of Kaylie gives us the history of other horrific deaths linked to the mirror without ever explaining its inception. I mean was the damn thing forged out a tree struck by lightning while some witch was burning a caldron near it? Give me something, but there’s nothing. People who possess this mirror see a woman and then they apparently go nutters. They either kill themselves or the people around them for some reason. What reason and why? Perhaps, the mirror is bored. And who the hell is the woman and where did the chick come from?
Kaylie convinces her brother to help her document the evil doings of the mirror and eventually destroy it. Her plan is quite elaborate and entertaining to watch, if not pointless. Because seriously bury the thing in some concrete somewhere and move on, but again we would have a hellva short movie.
Don’t get me wrong there are several ideas and elements that make Oculus worth watching. The film is composed of flashbacks and blurring’s into the present, this is done rather seamlessly. Telling the story in this manner allows, us, the audience to question whether things are happening the way we are seeing them or if they mirror is messing with our heads as well. It is also extremely well acted, by a very small cast, which included two child actors who are engaging and not annoying like I find most kids to be. The few times we see the actual ghost that occupies the mirror she is scary enough I suppose. However, I still want to know, who she is and why is she so pissed off?
As per the usual there are plot holes. Like previously mentioned Kaylie gives a rundown on the mirrors history, but apparently she is the first one to question the seemingly evil juju surrounding the people who own it; but yet people are recording its history. Why would they do that? The last “bad” happened in 2004, with the age of the internet the lore surrounding the mirror would be everywhere and it would have its own Twitter account, so Kaylie pulling off her little experiment probably wouldn’t have been necessary. But, then again we have no film if logic applied.
Overall, Oculus is pretty good, but it has a lot of problems and it’s not in the least bit scary, but if you must see it, RENT IT. Oculus is theaters now.