Movie Review: Oculus (2013)

Posted: April 25, 2015 in horror

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Tim Russell  (Brendon Thwates, Garrett Ryan) is leaving psychiatric care after witnessing some horrific things with his sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan, Annalise Basso) in their childhood home.  Tim is convinced that the events that occurred are a result of his mental instability, while Kaylie is convinced something supernatural is at work.  Who is right?

Oculus starts out a tense horror film, reminiscent of the Shining and Poltergeist, but the tension quickly dissipates and it becomes a standard horror movie, once the initial reveal is shown, each successive showing of the phenomenon is less and less scary.  There is also overuse of the flashback, so that the viewer goes back and forth, from childhood to adulthood with such rapidity that the viewer can never get a real handle on the story, which leads to confusion and confusion is the only explanation for the climactic scene in the movie. The ending is predictable, for a horror movie.

The acting is pretty good, and is what made the movie watchable. Karen Gillan, a British actress, actually does a convincing American accent.  She is the strong willed sibling who pushes the story and her brother forward.  Gillan does a solid job.  Brendon Thwates does a good job as the recently recovering psychiatric patient, who is not quite sure that what he is seeing.  Katie Sackhoff is really good playing the emotionally abused, vulnerable wife and mother of two.  I wish there was more the writers could have done more with her character.

Not much that is exemplary with the direction.  It seems fashionable now to try to fake-out the audience by making the scare occur just a little later than expected, there are a lot of those fake-outs in this movie, and nothing else of note visually.

Oculus:  Less than meets the eye.

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