Oculus

Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, James Lafferty
Directed by: Mike Flanagan

I usually avoid horror movies, which is why you don’t see a ton of reviews on the site for them. It’s not really my genre. I hate films that are just a series of jump scares, and have no real plot of ability to build a solid structure. That being said, I can respect a good scary film. The last one I saw that got me was probably Paranormal Activity.

Now, Oculus didn’t scare me, but I did appreciate the crafting of the story. Instead of figuring out how to scare people through jumps and loud random noises, the film actually spent time trying to make a story and make it plausible. Throw into the mix a pair of leading actors who are really hot right now, and incredibly likeable, and you have a film that might find an audience in a few years.

I honestly watched the film because I’ve become a fan of Karen Gillan. Despite the fact that her sitcom Selfie was cancelled, I’m still hoping for big things from Gillan, who had a good year with Oculus, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Selfie.

Oculus is a “haunted house” story in structure, but really can be a tricky mindfuck in parts. You’re always trying to figure out what’s real, and what isn’t, because the rules of the game stipulate that the mirror in the film might be fucking with you. It’s a plot device that is used well, and isn’t cheap.

Sure, the leads are stupid for not just dropping the mirror off a cliff immediately, and instead subjecting themselves to the mirror (knowing what it can do). Nuke the son of a bitch and move on with your lives. Yes, the mirror has power, but drop that shit in a U-haul and push it into the Grand Canyon or something. There’s only just so much it can really do. It’s a mirror.

Considering what I’ve seen of (not the whole film, but just parts) The Conjuring, Insidious, and Sinister, Oculus handily beats all of them because it puts story above cheap thrills.

FINAL GRADE: B

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