Oculus

**

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)
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Not Alice’s Looking Glass

Oculus

I absolutely love scary movies, but there is nothing worse than a movie I assume will scare the pants off me that has me leaving the theater utterly disappointed. If I’m going to pay $12 to see a scary movie, I want to go home and keep the lights on at night for weeks on end. This wasn’t the case with Oculus. For all of its hype, I was a little underwhelmed and overly confused. And when a supposed horror movie comes out in months like April, and not as a big summer blockbuster or in the more obvious fall season, you have to know that it’s most likely going to be sub-par at best.

The premise seemed interesting: ancient mirror has a history of being in houses where murders occurred. The movie begins with a flashback of two children facing down the barrel of a gun held by their father. Emerging from the flashback, it becomes apparent that the little boy (Tim) in the flashback spent many years in a mental institution dealing with the backlash of this event in which he ended up killing his father to save himself and his sister from the father’s crazed homicidal rampage.

The sister (Kaylie) has also grown up, and has found success in her life (or at least a successful fiancé that takes care of her financially). Just before she goes to pick up her brother from the mental hospital on the day of his release, we see her at an auction, watching over the bidding of an old, foreboding looking mirror. It is purchased, and sent into a back room to be prepared for shipment. She tells the shipping crew she will take the mirror home and clean it up and get it ready to be delivered.

After picking up Tim from the mental hospital, she makes a really smart decision to take this poor kid recovering from severe PTSD and bring him back to the place that severely traumatized him. She is determined to make it known that the mirror is the root cause of all of the strange murders that have occurred at the homes in which the mirror was hung.

There are a few classic scare gags meant to make the viewer jump or shift uncomfortably in their seat: unexpected shadow figures, a door opens and someone is standing right behind it, and even a few Final Destination type gore tactics. And while I’m usually a sucker for those, they didn’t quite add much to the story as a whole.

It was more of a psychological thriller, with weird twists and turns that never fully resolve or get explained. My first impression was that it was reminiscent of the Leonardo DiCaprio flick Shutter Island, in which the delusion plays out in his mind that he is an investigator, when the whole time he’s incarcerated on Shutter Island. The effect is kind of the same in Oculus. Without giving too much away, it appears the mirror does have an effect on what is perceived by those in its radius, blurring the line between reality and delusion to the point of madness.

The end was extremely unsatisfying, and knowing how certain things were set up in the room with the mirror, it was kind of predictable that something horrible would happen. The problem is that we aren’t exactly clear “whodunnit,” who was crazy and who was completely sane, or whether or not any of it happened at all. Shutter Island at least gave a definitive resolution, where as I’m not entirely sure what I witnessed in Oculus.

If you like psychological thrillers, check it out when it’s on demand. And if someone else can explain this movie to me, I would be open for another interpretation. Moral of the story: keep your expectations low when seeing a horror movie in non-prime horror film months.


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