Horror film directing master Mike Flanagan showcases some of his best talents with 2013’s Oculus, a horror film that focuses on mirrors. Who knew mirrors could be so unnerving?
A woman named Kaylie Russell (Karen Gillan) discovers an antique mirror, and believes that it is the very thing that killed her loved ones years before. Now, she has to team up with her brother Tim (Brenton Thwaites) to see if they can rid the mirror of its evil spirits.
First off, this film was really surprising to me. Before I saw Oculus, I was already aware of Flanagan’s work. I really loved his 2016 films Hush and Ouija: Origin of Evil. Flanagan is a director that understands the horror genre so well, and his talents shine with Oculus.
Gillan and Thwaites are excellent in their roles as sister and brother, and give some of the best performances of their entire careers here. You really do root for their characters as well throughout the film. This is mainly because the film’s story is an emotional one, and one that some people may actually relate to. At its core, Oculus is not a horror film, but rather, a tragic family drama.
It also contains many twists and turns that I did not see coming, and had excellent camera work by Michael Fimognari. The way he sets up the camera in certain scenes was truly genius and stood out as above the echelon, especially for the genre.
The film can feel a bit slow-paced at times, because it can often focus on the family aspect of things just a slight bit too much. It would have been nice to see a little more scares thrown in the mix.
Unfortunately, the ending of Oculus was one that I was not a fan of at all. The entire film beforehand was extremely intriguing and fascinating, only for the ending to come along and betray some of the film’s structure that it set up much earlier in the film.
Oculus is an effective and creepy horror film with a family story at its core, and is boosted by Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites’ performances.
Overall Grade: B+
MPAA Rating: Rated R for terror, violence, some disturbing images and brief language
Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane, Katee Sackhoff
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Distributed by: Relativity Media
Running Time: 103 minutes