Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Mystery Confusion Galore
As much as I scoff at horror film clichés like the rest of you, I have to say that I do find horror films about mirrors to be quite fascinating. In fact, I really believe there is a lot of untouched potential for scary mirrors. I would watch a haunted mirror film any day over a haunted doll story. The entire concept that mirrors are connected to another world has been around for generations, but what that means to everyone else has been translated in different ways. Oculus is just one of these types of films, and I think there is honestly some good things to be said here. It’s not perfect by any means, but it is definitely notable.
It is no easy task to explain the plot of this film, because in all honesty, it’s a bit jagged in its direction…but that is clearly on purpose. Basically, Karen Gillan plays a gal named Kaylie, who experienced a traumatizing event with her brother when they were younger. She believes a mirror is connected to the world of the supernatural, and that it reeks havoc on people through hallucinations and delusions…with of course, the help from some shiny eyed ghosts. Years after the event that changed their lives, they return back to the house on a single mission…to kill that mirror before it does anymore harm.
So you should know that this movie is confusing. It takes the use of flashbacks and creates a whole new form of storytelling that weaves the past and present together in perfect harmony…but at the same time it’s a little hard to follow. I think a second viewing of the movie may stitch things together a little better, but the way it is done isn’t entirely horrible. I just wish they explained things a little more clearly by the very end, as the film feels very mystery-centered rather than horror.
That’s actually one thing I liked about this film. Instead of using overdone horror clichés, they made use of the imagination. Not so much as how Paranormal Activity did, but through it’s mystery and jumping between time periods…you’re more than forced to think about what you’re watching and what it ultimately means. It does have a few “jump out” moments and “shocking” shots, but not as much as what I expected, and the entire concept of the movie was enough to actually keep me watching. I wouldn’t call this movie scary whatsoever, but I think any horror film that has an interesting story is worth a watch. I actually think the story itself is somewhat original, or at least it feels that way. Like I said…I’ll take this over a haunted doll movie any day of the week.
I honestly think the concept of Oculus and even some of how it was executed was rather original and intriguing. Its use of stitching together the past and present is mystifying and keeps you glued to the screen wondering how it will ultimately wind up, and if these questions will ever be answered.
Some of those questions aren’t really answered, but I’m not entirely sure they needed to be by the time the movie was over. Also, as interesting as this movie is, it’s supposedly a horror film…and it just doesn’t feel like that. The people in the movie are more like scientists or ghost hunters than anything…they are playing characters that are more intrigued than anything else…so if they aren’t going to act scared…either are the audience members.
Karen Gillan with an American accent…feels weird. She actually does a really good job with the accent, but if you’re used to seeing her in British shows like Doctor Who, then you might need to have your brain readjust your ears in order to accept what you’re hearing.