A beautiful hand carved antique mirror hanging in your newly purchased home office would seem like the perfect addition for Alan Russell (actor Rory Cochrane) who just started a new company, who’s married to a gorgeous wife named Marie (actress Katee Sackhoff) and has two energetic children played by (actress Annalise Basso and actor Garrett Ryan).
When I think about a horror a movie my first thought is something scary enough that it sticks with me after my eyes have left the screen…and with that said…Oculus did just that.
The opening scene left me feeling for the little frightened girl peering from behind the door. The image of her freckled, sweat-beaded face with messy red hair was juxtaposed with the music pounding throughout the theater as if to echo the fear coming from her heart. The source of her fear? The person she once loved, her protector, is now the one she’s running from. Little Kaylie’s desperation bled through the screen. At that moment I knew I had found the movie I’d been waiting for.
Mike Flanagan, director and writer of Oculus brings us to the present day where we find a twenty-something Kaylie… just as blue eyed and flame haired as when she was a child. She enters the scene with a face of determination to somehow get her hands on the beautifully crafted mirror at an auction. The success of her determination later reveals itself in a rare form that forever changes the lives of many.
As the movie continues we’re taken back to the past of Kaylie and Tim’s childhood where the story of fright began with the Lasser mirror. Kaylie begins methodically searching through old newspaper clippings and phots of the mirror’s past owners in a bid to convince her brother Tim that the mirror’s dark past can be proven.
While Kaylie (actress Karen Gillan) and Tim (actor Brenton Thwaites) as young adults are in their childhood home trying to stir up the mirror and bring out what Kaylie believes lives behind that glass…A series of events begin to unfold. Tim begins to see himself as a young 10yr old boy and starts to recall past events he had forgotten of his nightmarish past. Watching this young Tim on screen grips you as a viewer. You instantly like the boy wanting to protect him from what you’re witnessing. Kaylie walks the house having memories of what she already knew happened as a child.
I found Oculus to be a suspenseful film. At times scary as the characters struggle with their own demons. The movie is not gory or sadistic which I’ve found that most horror fans prefer. If a film isn’t sadistic, gore, or torture…then it isn’t horror. Not true! I found Oculus to be very much a modern day Hitchcock.
My only complaint would be that the the movie goer needs to pay attention to the frequent jaunts forward and back in time. Even more than your typical Quentin Tarantino film. Oculus will change scenes on you in the blink of an eye. So no restroom breaks during this film.
Some little side notes as a reader that you might enjoy…The mirror does exist. There’s actually 3 of them and they’re currently being stored in a warehouse. The original mirror was just made out of plastic and was used in the stage play version of the screenplay. It’s currently hanging in the bedroom of the director’s son.