Although “Oculus” certainly doesn’t try to break away from certain clichés that we have all become accustomed to within the horror genre, it still manages to place an uneasy feeling of true fear. “Oculus” follows the story of adults Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites) as they attempt to keep a promise they made after a traumatic experience when they were children.
Ten years prior, odd occurrences began after Allen and Marie Russell decided to move into a new home with their son Tim and daughter Kaylie. Over a couple weeks, the family balance slowly unravels as Marie has a mental breakdown and Allen becomes increasingly attached to an antique mirror, the lesser glass, in his office. Tragedy strikes when Tim is convicted of murdering his parents. Before he is taken away, Kaylie has him promise to never forget what really happened that night.
Cue modern day. Tim is just being released from a mental hospital where he has spent the last ten years coping with the aftershock of that horrifying night. While Tim has been locked away, Kaylie has been searching for the mirror. She isn’t convinced that Tim committed the murders. She believes that a supernatural force from within their father’s antique mirror is the cause for the tragic deaths of their parents. With the mirror finally in their possession, Kaylie and Tim hope to prove their deepest and darkest childhood memories as well as hold their promise to destroy the lesser glass. However, once the siblings begin having horrible hallucinations, they have realized that their darkest nightmare has begun again.
The director did an excellent job captivating the viewer, and it was really easy to become wrapped up in the story. The film has a restrictive feeling to it; it’s as if the main characters are having their lives slowly squeezed out of them.
The scariest part about “Oculus” is the hopelessness that resonates throughout most of the film. Tim and Kaylie find themselves trapped in a house with the lesser glass with no hope of a happy ending. Viewers are left feeling just as trapped as the two of them; there is seemingly no way out of this awful nightmare.
The only downfall of the movie is that you can’t always tell what is real or what is not. The director blends the character’s reality and hallucinations so seamlessly that some parts can be quite confusing. It’s very easy to find yourself asking, “Wait, did that really just happen or not?”
“Oculus” is well made, which can be rare for horror films, and it is definitely one of the scariest movies released recently. It is certainly worth watching but remember to turn off the lights.