A sister picks up her brother from a mental institution after he’s recovered from the trauma of killing his father in self defence. The sister brings him home to destroy an evil mirror that she feels was responsible for their father’s actions.
Judging a Book by its Cover
-“Guess who?” Is it, “Aaaaaarghhh!?”
-That’s a terrible affliction to have, hands born over your eyes. I thought this was about a mirror.
-The producer of Paranormal Activity and Insidious presents, huh? That’s not the greatest track record to plaster on your poster.
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Starring Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff
On his 21st birthday, Tim gets great news from his doctor: he’s sane enough to leave the mental institution he’s been in since he shot his father in self defense when he was younger. He and his sister and discovered that their father had been torturing their mother for days before killing her and he turned his aggression towards them, hence the self defense. His sister, Kaylie, picks him up from the institution and gives him the good news that she’s found the mirror that they think is behind what happened to their parents. Come again?
The film takes us back eleven years prior when Kaylie and Tim were younger and going through the events that led them to their current situation. The film often goes back and forth to show the parallels between what is happening now and compared to back then. A good portion of the film involves watching not only their parents’ marriage fall apart because of the influence the mirror but also the evil intentions the glass has for their father that eventually makes him go violently insane.
Yes, it’s a killer mirror. Kaylie is determined to prove that the mirror is responsible for what their father did and subsequently what Tim did. Thankfully eschewing a total explanation for why the mirror is possessed — it simply is — and Kaylie can only assume it’s the mirror that’s at fault because it’s the only link between 45 deaths over the last few centuries of its existence. Kaylie puts together a clever plan in order to prove that the mirror is scientifically “haunted” before ultimately destroying it once and for all. But the mirror is also clever.
A silent character in the film, the Lasser Glass, as it’s formally called, has the overreaching power to affect the minds of anyone around it and make them see and ultimately do what it wants. It’s not until the final third of the film do we really see how much the mirror intends to survive as Kaylie and Tim can no longer believe everything they see and must rely on one another to keep sane. But can they?
With a smarter-than-average script, solid acting and some surprising shocks and scares, Oculus easily overcomes any hesitations you may have about the subject matter and delivers a wonderful hidden gem that’s worth watching more than once.
Story: 8 – The events of the past and the present intertwine themselves as a brother and sister look for revenge against an evil mirror they deem responsible for their parents’ death but it’s not that easy to smash this mirror as it can make you see anything it wants you to.
Blood: 6 – The film is not overly graphic, instead the bloodier moments are more meant to be disturbing to the viewer (like fingernail removal via staple remover) than going for blood and guts though it does tease you with that very scenario in one scene.
Nudity: 0 – Mirror, mirror on the wall why aren’t there any boobs at all?
Overall: 8 – I’m shocked as anyone that Oculus is as good as it is.
–Oculus is based on a short film called Oculus Part 3: The Man with the Plan from the same director.
-Filmed in 24 days.