Claremore Daily Progress

Community News

April 14, 2014

REVIEW: ‘Oculus’ is tightly told tale of a murderous mirror

CLAREMORE —

As far as subgenres go, the “haunted mirror” movie may be one of the smallest offshoots of the horror genre.
Other than 2008’s “Mirrors” (with Kiefer Sutherland), it’s 2010 straight-to-DVD sequel “Mirrors 2,” there are few horror movies that have opted to hinge their entire plots around possessed, haunted, or otherwise supernaturally menacing mirrors.
(I’m omitting 2013’s“Mirror Mirror” starring Julia Roberts, which was a horror for an entirely different reason, but I digress...)
The latest entry to the “haunted mirror” subgenre is “Oculus,” an effectively — and affectingly — spooky little film which is much better than its set up might imply.
Directed, co-written, and edited by Mike Flanagan, “Oculus” (the movie) is a big screen adaptation of an expansion on a well-received 30-minute short film he made several years ago, to which he’s added even more atmosphere and builds even more suspense. 
It also helps that the movie’s characters are actually intelligent (a rarity in most horror films), which means, they react to their situations and try to get out of peril they way most thinking people would, making the horror all the more terrifying when what should work (at getting out of trouble) doesn’t.
The “evil mirror” in question is an antique from the 1700s that fell into the hands of the Russell family more than ten years ago. 
In the here and now, 21-year-old Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) has just been released from a mental facility where he’s been since the events that happened when he was ten. His older sister, Kaylie (”Doctor Who” alumni Karen Gillan), has been waiting for him to get out so he could help her fulfill a promise they made as children: to “kill it,” with the “it” being the mirror and “kill” being undefined. 

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