Second Union

Second Union

Second Union’s 31 DAYS OF HORROR: Day 26 – Oculus (2013)

Welcome to the Second Union 31 Days of Horror event! Every day leading up to Tuesday, October 31st, (starting Sunday, October 1st) we will post a review of one horror film.

Today’s Film: Oculus. Enjoy!

Oculus is directed by Mike Flanagan and follows two siblings who try to unravel the mystery of a mirror that supposedly caused their parents’ deaths years back. Now, I’ll be the first to say that I did not anticipate viewing this film as much as others. I know that Mike Flanagan does well on everything he works on, but this was just a film that didn’t stick out to me. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Oculus is one of the most impactful and psychologically thrilling films I’ve ever seen.

It’s hard to put into words what my initial reaction was to this film, but I do have a few issues, so let’s get those out of the way first. There are quite a few moments in this film where it doesn’t feel quite tonally right. Maybe I phrased that wrong. What I mean to say is that sometimes it feels like it’s meant for a completely different audience, and sometimes it’s not. It kind of jumbles back and forth. There’s also a very rushed and sort of confusing opening scene, and a completely preventable ending (though I admit, I didn’t see it coming).

The performances are absolutely stunning. Karen Gillan delivers the best performance I’ve seen her in (yes, even better than Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy). ‘Nuff said. Brenton Thwaites also gives a very compelling performance as Tim. And most of all? The child actors are truly amazing. The equal balance between past and present in this film is remarkable. It makes the story flow so much better, and with a film like this, it’s hard to do that, to begin with.

THE VERDICT

Oculus is a terrifying, disturbing, psychological thriller that will make you afraid of mirrors. Or at least afraid to look into them. It has a great ending, the pacing flows very well, and the acting is superb. While it has some inconsistencies here and there, it’s a film worth watching and I’m going to give it an A-.

Oculus stars Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane, Katee Sackhoff. Directed by Mike Flanagan.

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