run time: 104 mins
director: Mike Flanagan
starring: Karen Gillan, Breton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, James Lafferty, Miguel Sandoval, Kate Siegel, Scott Graham, Michael J. Fourticq, Katie Parker, Justin Gordon, Bob Gebert, Brett Luciana Murray.
movie summary: Kaylie Russell (Karen Gillian) works at an auction house when has finally got her hands on an antique mirror that her father once owned. She believes the mirror is processed, which was the reason her father Alan (Rory Cochrane) went crazy, and why her brother Tim (Brenton Thwaites) is locked up in a mental institution. Kaylie plans to destroy the mirror and exorcise the demon she thinks lives in the mirror.
Tim has been locked away for 11 years since he murdered his dad Alan, who had just killed their mother Marie (Katee Sackhoff) and was about to kill Kaylie. After years of treatment he is finally released into the care of his sister Kaylie who has a surprise for him. She has spent years trying to track down the antique mirror that she finally finds through her work at the auction house. When she picks Tim up she tells him the big surprise that the mirror is back at their old house and they must fulfill a promise they made to destroy it together.
The pair meet at their house where Tim helps Kaylie set the mirror up in their dad’s old office. The house has been empty since the murders but Kaylie set up cameras, lights, lanterns, and alarm clocks all over the place. She locks them inside the office before explaining to Tim there are four alarms set to go off every 20 minutes to warn them to eat and drink and make sure they are still awake. She explains that every 30 minutes another timer will go off that is tied to a weighted blade that will destroy the mirror if someone doesn’t turn the timer back. Tim thinks is sister is the one who needs help and begs to leave because this whole situation is crazy. Kaylie continues on by turning on two video cameras then begins to tell the tale of all the accidents that have happened to the owners of this mirror from the late 1800’s until their parents death 11 years ago.
While Kaylie tells the story strange things begin to happen all over the house, plants die, lights go out, the phone no longer works, and the pair begin to hallucinate. They begin to relive moments of their kid hood, chasing each other around the house with toy guns, playing with their dog before it got sick, and then their parents fighting all the time. When the alarms go off they realize the mirror is playing mind games with them but they continue the mission. Soon they see themselves as kids again with their dad acting really strange with a scary ghost lady in his office. They are scared all over again as they relive the night of their mom’s murder and their dad getting shot by Tim. The alarms go off but the lights don’t come on and the pair are alone in the dark with their dad. Neither one of them can figure out if they are in reality or if they are in the past. The alarms continue to go off and the pair can’t get our of these illusions. Tim appears to have woken up for this nightmare but he may not be able to save his sister who is in trouble.
my thoughts: Oculus is a rare horror movie that doesn’t have a serial killer or a demon possession house that haunts the people in it an attempt to scare them away. This mirror has a supernatural power that can control someone’s mind and play deadly tricks with them. It will take reality and twist it around so much that someone will have no clue if they are reliving a bad moment or still stuck in it.
Kaylie is one determined girl and will do whatever it takes to destroy the mirror if even it means her life. She’s struggled to live with the memories of the horrible events of her childhood and wants revenge on the mirror even thought the mirror seems unbreakable. It’s kinda funny in a way that the mirror does absolutely nothing in the movie, it’s actually the creatures that come out of it that have all the power. The old mirror just serves as a gateway between worlds that Tim originally laughs off. He quickly changes his mind when the stuff begins happen. Ultimately he has no clue what he is up against and the fact he is unprepared to deal with this situation will come back to haunt him in the worst possible ways. I was happy to see Rory Cochrane in another movie because he will always be Lucas from Empire Records to me. It was weird to see him turn from happy going dad to psychotic killer, but that’s what happens when evil spirits invade our world.
I was impressed with Oculus because I didn’t leave the theatre scared out of my mind. There was no nightmares on Sunday night and amazingly I didn’t sleep with the TV on. The movie made me think about what reality was and how they got caught up in their own past childhood. It’s a thoughtful thriller that will keep you guessing right up until the end and make you wonder next time you pass by an antique mirror.
my star rating: 7 out 10
imdb.com: 7.1 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 71% out 100%