The 2013 horror movie ‘Oculus’ directed by Mike Flanagan is one mind-bending story that will keep you glued to your screen. Actors Karen Gillian and Brenton Thwaites play siblings Kaylie and Tim who are haunted by the violent deaths of their parents.
The official story on the deaths is that the father brutally murdered their mother and was killed by Tim in self-defense. The 10-year-old is convicted for his father’s death. However, Kaylie believes that her parents were driven to their deaths by a sinister antique mirror. Known as the ‘lasser mirror’, Kaylie claims it can induce hallucinations and can protect itself from any damage. When the two siblings are older, they attempt to document the mirror’s power to prove their Tim’s innocence and hope to eventually destroy it.
Co-written by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard, Oculus is an engrossing psychological horror tale. It first seems to flit between the past and the present and then one just cannot tell the difference, because the two seamlessly merge into one time dimension at some points. The viewer is left baffled, wondering if it’s the mirror that’s playing tricks on the siblings, or if their minds have been corrupted by the horrifying deaths of their parents. The makers throw in a pretty solid background to the mirror, tracing its origin to as far back as the 1700s, crediting it with the deaths of several of its previous owners.
Director Flanagan doesn’t rely on too many jump scares, but instead plays around with reality and illusions to create a dread within the minds of both the characters and the viewers. It’s hard to tell the hallucinations apart from the truth. There are a few graphic and gory scenes that would unsettle those who cannot stand blood and violence, but it’s what help make the film leave a more lasting impression.
The writing is compelling and tries to cover as many plot-holes as it can. However, the biggest question that is left unanswered is “how did Kaylie & Tim plan to destroy the mirror without any help?”. If you don’t let that basic question bother you too much, Oculus makes for an intense and interesting movie-watching experience.
Considering I am a big horror fan, it’s a 7/10 from me. It’s available to stream on Netflix.
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