Sunday, August 31, 2014


A pair of siblings witness their parents both go insane, for reasons that are at first unknown to them until they conclude that it has something to do with the haunted mirror daddy bought to hang on a wall in his office. At first, the mother starts acting like a rabid dog, which leads daddy to chain her up in their bedroom so as not to cause any more harm. Later on, the malevolent entity living in the mirror seduces the father and turns him against his children. The supernatural being takes the form of a woman with mirrors for eyes. To cut the long story short, the younger brother ends up using his father’s pistol against him, killing him in the process. He is then taken to juvenile custody, locked up in a psychiatric ward while his big sister is left to grow up on her own. A decade later Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites) reunite in the house, where everything happened, for some unfinished business. She has purchased the mirror and intends to prove to the world that it is haunted before she smashes it, installing booby traps all over the place. He, on the other hand, believes she has gone insane. Would they be triumphant this time or would history just repeat itself?

Oculus is kind of hard to watch because of the parallel storylines involving both past and present, the plot jumping back and forth from one to the other. It would not have been that effective, though, if all the background information is given in one fell swoop, which is probably why this setup has been preferred. What keeps the audience hooked is the curiosity as to whether these doomed siblings would really get to exact their revenge, eleven years in the making, on the lady in the mirror.

The special effects are fine, although the director relies more on swift camera movements to make the scenes more effective. It could be somewhat headache-inducing, however. The cinematography counts on darker hues to deliver the requisite gloomy atmosphere. On the other hand, the installation of cameras all over the house makes some scenes seem more like reality TV, which could be considered as a good move as it adds spice to the otherwise one-dimensional camera work.

As for the plot itself, the movie delivers in terms of irony, and the tragedy of it all. What makes the movie work is that despite putting all the blame on the supernatural, one could still make a case regarding the sanity of everyone involved, thus turning the film into a mix of supernatural horror and psychological thriller rolled into one. But the fact that the movie focuses on a haunted object and employs a rather similar formula that many other horror flicks have already used might cause some to just dismiss it as another addition to the already saturated genre. Even so, expect some jolts here and there. This movie has it flaws, but it does not fail to deliver either.

Yes, there might be a sequel because the conclusion is rather open-ended. In any case, it is one enjoyable film, and perhaps could even be considered as one of the better ones to be offered by this genre for quite some time.

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