OCULUS-United States-104 Mins. 2013
Karen Gillan as Kaylie Russell in Oculus
Brenton Thwaites as Tim Russell in Oculus
Katee Sackhoff as Marie Russell in Oculus
Rory Cochrane (C) as Alan Russell in Oculus
Annalise Basso as young Kaylie Russell and Garrett Ryan as young Tim Russell in Oculus
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Screenplay by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard and based on their short screenplay
I’m not sure if any of you are aware of this but sometimes, with certain movies, I have difficulty explaining the plot. I have trouble describing a lot of things sometimes. I’m not dumb; it’s whenever I like something I get excited about it and it’s hard to get the words to come out. My wife always tells me to explain it to her as she, being my wife, is an unbiased listener. So for this post I am making all of you who are reading it into my surrogate wife so I can tell you about the movie, Oculus, and why I liked it, which was a lot.
Put simply, Oculus is about a haunted mirror. Well, not so much a haunted mirror but more like an evil mirror. It destroys people. It uses them up and spits them out. It makes them see things that aren’t real and twists the things that are real around until they just don’t know what’s up anymore.
Anyway, after her brother is let out of the mental hospital, Kaylie enlists his help to prove to the world that the mirror is not only responsible for the deaths of their mother and father, but 43 other people in the four centuries of its existence. Setting up video cameras and computers to record events and keep check on the temperature in the room, Kaylie also sets timers to remind herself and Tim, her brother, to eat and drink every so often as the mirror distorts that part of a person’s reality. There’s another alarm and if you’ve seen the movie then you know what it is; if not I’m not going to tell you because I don’t want to give anything away.
Oculus works a parallel line between two time periods set eleven years apart. The first is the present as Kaylie and Tim attempt to understand the evil behind the mirror in an attempt to destroy it. The earlier timeline is 2002 and shows us how the mirror destroyed the lives of Kaylie and Tim’s parents. I must admit that for a while I found myself confused as it seemed that the two time periods merged at certain moments of the film. This is not a mistake by any means on the part of the filmmakers but merely a lack of my understanding of it.
Oculus is directed by Mike Flanagan. Before Oculus he directed a small film called Absentia that I found to be quiet and creepy as hell. Witnessing Absentia I knew that this man had a talent for the horror genre and wanted to see if he could live up to the promises of that film. With Oculus I can safely tell you that yes; Flanagan does live up to that promise. Oculus may not be as quiet as Absentia but it’s still a creepy son-of-a-bitch. Another thing is that it’s produced by WWE Entertainment. Producing Oculus and the fact that they’ve recruited Jen and Sylvia Soska, the twin directors behind the excellent American Mary to helm See No Evil 2 may be a sign that they’re on the right track.
That wasn’t so bad, was it; being my surrogate wife for a few minutes? You’re now free to go about your business but before you do I just have one more favor to ask of you:
Could one of ya’ll please get me a beer while you’re up?
Filmed in October 2012, first shown at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2013, but not given a proper release until April 2014.
The titular “evil mirror” in Oculus was “first documented belonging to the Levesque family”, aka Triple H! It’s the same mirror he broke on Wrestlemania 25, same mirror that Undertaker used on Orton, and the one that Bray used on Cena.
Karen Gillan also appears in Guardians of the Galaxy and Not Another Happy Ending.
Brenton Thwaites also appears in Maleficent and The Giver.
Katee Sackhoff also appears in Riddick and The Haunting in Connecticut 2: The Ghosts of Georgia.
Rory Cochrane also appears in Argo and Dazed and Confused.
Annalisa Basso also appears in Bedtime Stories and Standing Up.
Garrett Ryan also appears in Insidious: Chapter 2 and Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.