When I first saw trailers for this film, I decided it looked lame. I was set against paying ten bucks for a film I knew I’d hate. Oculus recently hit a bargain theater in the area. With little else to do, I figured, why not?
Rory Cohcrane portrays Alan Russell. Due to a job, he’s moved his family into a new house. For his home office he bought some furniture including an old, old mirror. With him he brought his wife, Marie (Katy Sackoff), his ten-year-old son, Tim and thirteen-year-old daughter Kaylie.
The story takes place in the present, and eleven years earlier. As “adults,” Brenton Thwaits plays Tim, and Karen Gillan is Kaylie. Garrett Ryan is the ten-year-old, and Annalise Basso is young Kaylie. All four actors do an amazing job.
During a particular night in the past, the Russell family issues come to a head. Tim is arrested for shooting and killing his father. Locked away in a psychiatric hospital the movie begins with his release. Upon his release his sister has one goal in mind. She has kept a pulse on the mirror’s whereabouts, and recently bought it at an auction. The intent, to destroy it and the evil spirit living inside and behind the glass.
The mirror will not allow any harm to come to it. It has powerful defenses. It controls a person’s mind within a radius. It implants thoughts and memories. It also steals them. The illusions, and delusions are horrifying and complex.
The plot continually jumps back and forth between present and past. I worried this would hurt the storytelling. At first the jumps are obvious, then seamless, and instead create amazing amounts of tension and suspense.
The scares are not cheap. The plot is well-crafted and tricky and well-played. It was a scary movie with great characters and a smart story. The acting was spot on, and the chills never stopped. Yes – there is a fair amount of ground worked laid in the first twenty or so minutes. But it was informative and interesting. After that, the terror is non-stop and edgy.
I loved the film. Am almost mad I did not rush to theaters to see it when released. Mike Flanagan both wrote and directed the movie on a $5 million dollar budget. At 103 minutes (and rated R), I’d have to give Oculus 4 out of 5 Stars, and label it as one of the most entertaining horror movies I have seen in a while.
Author of The Vaccination Trilogy and other novels!