HOLLYWOOD—Jumping from time zones is always a tricky aspect that is hard to do in cinema. If done accurately, it works, as “Oculus” proves. This horror flick taps into the classic ghost story, that examines the past and the present that leads to a shocking conclusion.
Flashbacks are heavily used to drive the narrative for the audience, as the story revolves around a family whose personal tragedies may be the result of a supernatural mirror that causes bad things to happen. The antique mirror is purchased by patriarch Alan (Rory Cochrane), who soon begins to experience odd hallucinations. At its core, the movie is about a family fighting to stay intact by an evil force that is slowly causing them to turn on one another. The trust this family has for each other begins to waver in the midst of the unexplainable. I mean how do you convincingly tell the people that you love that an evil mirror is responsible for your actions?
The great thing about “Oculus” is its villain’s ability to force people to do things that one can least expect. It’s evil at the core; there is mind control, there is deception and a load of other things to play with the spectator’s mind. Adults Tim (Brenton Thwaites) and Kaylie (Karen Gillian), who were haunted as kids by this evil mirror decide to destroy the antique that has ripped their family apart. They soon discover when you do battle with the supernatural there are always unexpected consequences.
The scary aspect about this thriller is that it’s a story of the mind losing its mental stability. What happens when one who is purely sane, is viewed as insane by all those surrounding them? It places you in a situation, where it’s almost impossible to prove your sanity, because it’s constantly in question.
Attempting to prove that you’re not crazy just makes you look even crazier than one may suspect. The smartest thing about “Oculus” is that it doesn’t rely on over the top gimmicks or violence to horrify the audience. It subtly approaches the thrills and scares in a way that sticks with the viewer long after the movie ends. “Oculus” is that one thriller that causes viewers to think about destroying every single mirror in their house.
In the end, a mirror is known for doing one thing: reflecting back to the person what everyone else sees, rather they want to acknowledge it or not.
By LaDale Anderson