Movies: Oculus

Mpepper/ May 2, 2021/ Reviews

This movie is from 2013, and I vaguely remembering hearing the title, but it never really made it onto my radar. I probably thought it was sci-fi, which isn’t my thing. (I don’t hate sci-fi, but I don’t make any special effort to ingest it, either.) As it turns out, however, this is actually a psychological horror movie, and I typically enjoy those. So I decided to give this one a try.

Oculus fits into the same category as, say, The Haunting of Hill House. Except instead of a whole house, it’s a mirror that is haunted. The movie revolves around siblings Kaylie and Tim, who violently lost their parents when Kaylie was 14 (I think?) and Tim 10. Now they’re all grown up and determined to figure out what really happened.

Well, Kaylie is, anyway. And she drags Tim into it. After years of searching, she has located the mirror and arranged to take it to their childhood home. She’s developed a complex system for monitoring the mirror and/or any entity that may dwell within in. But the rule in these movies is that you can’t outwit evil, nor can you kill it. So of course the mirror plays any number of gruesome tricks.

I won’t spoil any of it with details, but I will say this film is well edited. Flashbacks + the general confusion of the present-day characters as the mirror messes with their minds could easily have had Oculus devolving into cinematic gibberish. But on the whole, it stays tense and enjoyable and not too difficult to follow.

I’m not a gore person, which is why I don’t watch more traditional (slasher) horror movies. This one has its fair share of blood but wasn’t too much for me.

One wonders if they maybe hoped to begin a new franchise? The mirror comes with a lengthy history (detailed by Kaylie) that could easily have been used to make more films, either set in the past or going forward. I don’t know how successful Oculus was in its original outing, though, so maybe it didn’t do well enough for them to make more. It stands on its own in any case; to me, it simply seems like they could certainly return to the central evil and spin off from it if they wanted to.

Worth a watch? Sure. If you like The Haunting of Hill House and things of that ilk, you’d probably enjoy this one.

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