I haven’t mentioned this yet, but this month I’m doing a challenge where I watch 31 horror movies and at least 16 of them have to be movies I’ve never watched before. The challenge is being run by the fine folks at Horror Mansion. If you’re interested, there is still time to sign up and watch a boatload of horror movies this month. Anyway, because the challenge specifies that a certain amount have to be movies I’ve never seen before, it’s really interesting catching up on movies I own, but have yet to watch and movies that I wouldn’t even of thought about watching, but thanks to this challenge, I am. Oculus, a movie that came and went in theatres and completely passed under my radar, is one movie that was perfect for this challenge. I didn’t even consider popping it in, but am very glad I did. The movie is an intelligent, creepy tale, with a mind warping story, heart thumping music and an ending that screams give me more!
Release: April 11th, 2014
Run time: 104 mins
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites
Director: Mike Flanagan
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.
Tatlock’s Quick ‘n Dirty Recap: Oculus is a hard movie to explain. It goes back and forth between present time setting and past, slowly leaking out explanations and story at a slow, but enjoyable pace. The general gist of it is that the Russells have moved into a new house and the father, Alan (Rory Cochrane), buys an old antique mirror for his office. The mirror however is possibly haunted and the children of the family, Kaylie (Annalise Basso) and Tim (Garrett Ryan) are starting to see some really weird stuff happening with their mother, Marie (Katee Sackhoff) and father. Jump ahead into the present and the same two kids who are older (Karen Gillan as Kaylie and Brenton Thwaites as Tim) are looking at finally destroying the mirror, that destroyed their family. Without giving away too much more information, the lines of reality start to blur and we as a viewer are taken on an interesting trip, where not everything is exactly as it seems.
Tatlock’s Opinion: I’ll say it right now. Oculus surprised the crap out of me. I thought for sure it was going to be some cookie cutter ghost story, with crappy acting and a cliché been there, done that story. Instead, I was served up a mind trip, that poses some interesting theories and questions on what exactly is reality in the universe director Mike Flanagan created. Having the story bounce back and forth between past and present, is interesting concept and as the movie moves along, the lines between time start to blur and come together. Before you know it, you don’t know whether you are seeing the past, the present or heck, the future. It’s just wonderful.
As for the spooks, they are mostly of the mind trip variety, but there were a few scenes that sent some good ol’ goosebumps up and down my arm. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ll just say that glowing eyes on a creepy woman is… well, just damn creepy!
If I was to dish out one negative, it would only be for how the movie ends. I was a little disappointed that it went the route it did, but I do understand why they wanted to go that way. I myself didn’t see it happening exactly that way and it did surprise me, but in a good way? Not so much. This is one movie that really deserves either a few more minutes tacked on the runtime to go even further with the story, or a sequel that dives into more about this creepy antique mirror and exactly what gives it this crazy, insane power.
Verdict: Oculus is a movie that ranks high on my must watch list and I’ll definitely be giving it another spin down the road. It’s equal parts creepy, mind trippy and besides an ending that slightly spoils the groove it had going, Oculus deserves all the praise it receives. Highly recommended!