Director: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso
You see what it wants you to see
Mirrors don’t lie… or do they? Kaylie is convinced the antique mirror that her father bought for the family eleven years ago is to blame for the tragedy that would leave both her mother and father dead, with the blame being put on her little brother Tim who were only 10 years old at the time.
Tim is put away at a psychiatric hospital for the next eleven years and when he gets out Kaylie has a plan to prove his innocence and also prove that the evil that destroyed their family was supernatural. Her plan puts her and her brother in a night of war against the evil entity hidden within the antique mirror.
Oculus is another successful release by Blumhouse, a production company responsible for some of the biggest horror films in the later years – including Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister and The Purge. This film however wasn’t produced by Blumhouse, but they rather got interested in it after it was completed and decided to bring their powerhouse behind it to give it a proper wide release, which worked and it did bring in over 40 million dollars on the box office with a budget of approximately 5 mill.
Writer and director Mike Flanagan based this full feature film on a short he did a few years previously. The film changes between the events that led to the family tragedy when Kaylie and Tim were young and the modern day when they are trying to destroy the evil within the mirror. I haven’t seen the original short, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that only dealt with one of these stories – most likely the older one with the entire family.
The film paces along nicely and the acting is decent enough, but the film isn’t very interesting and the film lacks enough tensions and scares to ignore the lack of meat in the story. The idea of evil residing within a mirror isn’t new, but it is a concept that has a lot of potential and has made other films such as The Boogeyman work. In Oculus though, we hardly get to know anything about what’s really behind the mirror, what it wants or why it’s power is working the way it is.
The cast members give a decent enough performance and the cinematography is also good, but you can also smell the “shock twist” at the end very early on and that makes the final part of the film become very anti-climatic. It also becomes unrealistic for me how intelligent Kaylie seems to be, but yet she goes 100% on with this extremely dangerous and quite frankly dumb plan to get back at the mirror.
Oculus is not another hit for Blumhouse (well, financially it certainly was) and I doubt it is a film that will be remembered years from now. It’s not a poorly made film but the story didn’t do much for me and it becomes average at best.