Oculus (2013) review

Oculus CoverReviewed by Kevin Scott, MoreHorror.com

Oculus (2013)
Written by: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard, Jeff Seidman
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Cast: Karen Gillan (Kaylie Russell), Brenton Thwaites (Tim Russell), Katee Sackhoff (Marie Russell), Rory Cochrane (Alan Russell), Annalise Basso (Young Kaylie), Garrett Ryan (Young Tim), James Lafferty (Michael Dumont)

Mirrors have always given me the creeps. Your refection showing the toll of time and aging, those tried and true horror tropes of your reflection not being tethered to what you do on the other side of the glass, or the mirror itself being a gateway to another world. So it would be a pretty easy sell to make a movie about an evil mirror. It’s even been done a few times before. I just watched another pretty clever mirror entry with David Warner. It was part of the classic Amicus Anthology “From Beyond the Grave”. He comes under the control of an evil spirit living in an old mirror that he purchases from Peter Cushing at an antique store. The spirit requires a pound of flesh from time to time, so to speak.

There’s a lot of similarities to that in “Oculus”, but with some unique twist also taken from some pretty classic horror films. The plot centers mostly around a strong female lead. If you read the credits before this review, Katee Sachhoff may come to mind immediately. She recently found her defining role in the new “Battlestar Galactica” as a much more attractive incarnation of Starbuck. Yes even more attractive than Face from “The A Team”, Mr. Dirk Benedict. She’s a supporting character in this one. The framework of the story centers around a mysterious family homicide that involved a father killing the mother, and the son killing the father in self-defense. A decade later the surviving daughter of the family, Kaylie is working at a high end auction house, and finds the old mirror that used to hang in her father’s study. This wasn’t serendipity, she was looking for it in a very deliberate fashion. She believes the mirror is evil, it is responsible for the tragedy that befell her family, and her brother’s time in a mental institution after killing his father. Her locating the mirror coincides with her brother’s release back into society.

During a first lunch with her brother after his release, she delicately lays out a plan to prove it was the mirror. She is going to steal it from the auction house, bring it back to their old family house, and destroy it for good. She asks for his help, but after a decade of head shrinking he’s not sold on a supernatural explanation for all this. He does reluctantly agree, and the two begin a really long night. Remember that strong female lead? Kaylie rigs the house (in Nancy from “A Nightmare on Elm Street” fashion) with every kind of conceivable provision they may need to not become vulnerable to the mirrors power, and even fabricates a trap for the mirror itself to smash it, if things go really bad.

It appears that the mirror is more of a vampire of sorts that feeds on the energy of living, all the while killing them in the process, and ultimately imprisoning them on the other side. Kind of like the Overlook Hotel from “The Shining”, except this mirror makes you look like you have been doing a lot of meth before you ultimately leave the physical world. You have to pay attention. The story is told by toggling back and forth from the present and the past. Two separate stories in two separate times that are intertwined, but ultimately converge. To see the degeneration of the mother from upscale bohemian suburbanite to the deformed sister’s from “Pet Semetary” uglier sister is pretty jarring.

“Oculus” works more than most “ghost in the machine” type films because it uses the mirrors power to beguile its victims to keep the viewer wondering what’s real and what isn’t. The cast is solid and they sell the sorrow of evil seeping in and growing like a cancer until everyone is destroyed. I would like to see a really exquisite sequel to this one.

Please Share on Social Media:

Send your horror news scoop to press[at]MoreHorror.com.

Top 50 Horror Movie Blog

Like us on Facebook:

Recent Horror Movie Reviews

Detention (2011) Review
We Are The Night Review
Hate Crime (2012) Review
Dead of Night Review
The Violent Kind Review
Piranha 3DD Review
Funeral Home Review
DeadHeads Review
Playback Review
House Of Flesh Mannequins Review
More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead Review
The Mutilator Review
The Psycho Legacy Review
Halloween II: 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Review
Full Tilt Boogie Review
Nightmare City Review
The Divide Review
Penumbra Review
Hellraiser Revelations Review
Entrance Review
Asylum Blackout Review
Mother's Day Review
Dead Pit Review
Them Review
Anguish Review
Snow White: A Deadly Summer Review
Snow White: A Deadly Summer Review
Theatre of the Deranged Review
Grimm Season One Review
Kids Go to the Woods…Kids Get Dead Review
Trilogy of Blood Review
Kill Devil Hill Review
Intruder Review
Malevolence Review
A Horrible Way to Die Review
Halloween II (Rob Zombie) Review
Final Destination 5 Review
The Killing of Jacob Marr Review
Stake Land Review
The Reef Review
Cowboys and Zombies Review
Necromentia Review
The Ward Review
The Caller Review
Bereavement Review
Kidnapped Review
The Hills Run Red Review
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Review
Home Sweet Home Review
Super Hybrid Review
Dead Hooker in A Trunk Review
30 Days of Night: Dark Days Review
Paranormal Activity 2 Review
Cannibal Holocaust Review
The Woman Review
Dylan Dog Review
Medium Raw Review
One Dark Night (1983) Review
Groupie Review
The Tingler Review
Dolls Review
Detention Review
Bitter Feast Review
Camp Hell Review
Scream of The Banshee Review
FEARnet's Twisted Comedy Review
Just Before Dawn Review
Carriers Review
Mangrove Slasher 2 Review
LEWIS Review
The Task Review
cathARTic Review
Matrimony Review
Fright Night II Review
Yakuza Weapon Review
Hobo With a Shotgun Review
Plague Town Review
The Defiled Review
Goblin Review
Primal Review
Heartless Review
Pieces Review
True Blood: Season 3 Review
Murder Party Review
Hell Night Review
Skin Eating Jungle Vampires Review
I Saw The Devil Review
Red Riding Hood Review
Drive Angry Review
Blood Night Review
Dismal Review
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Review
The Faceless Review
Fertile Ground Review
Slaughterhouse Review
Amityville 4 Review
Aftermath Review
Savage Review
Ninjas vs Vampires Review
Swamp Shark Review
The Loved Ones Review
Black and Orange Review - Novel
Terror Vision Review
Vanishing on 7th Street: Movie Review
JAWS Review
Future Kill Review
Bad Elements: Crystal Dragon Review - Novel
Daughter of Horror Review
Death of The Dead Review
The Possession of David O Reilly Review
SCREAM 4 Review
Track of The Moon Beast (1976) Review
Hyenas Review
Mongolian Death Worm Review
Black Death Review
World War Z (audio book) Review
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Review
The Absent Review
Alien vs Ninja Review
Missing Linx (Comic) Review
Thankskilling Review
Death Spa (1988) Review
Insidious Review
Basket Case (1982) Review
The Walking Dead: Season 1 Review
PROWL Review
April Fools Day (1986) Review
In The Mouth of Madness Review
Machete Review
White Dog (1982) Review
SAW: 3D (The Final Chapter) Review
A Serbian Film Review
[REC] Review
The Devil's Rejects Review
SAW Review
Burial Ground (1981) Review
Hollowed Ground Review
Roid Rage Review
Psych:9 Review
Let Me In Review
My Soul To Take Review
The New York Ripper Review
Burnt Offerings (1976) Review
I Spit On Your Grave (1978) Review
I Spit On Your Grave (2010) Review
Wicked, Wicked (1973) Review
Maniac (1980) Review
Deadline (1981) Review
Death Bell Review
The Rite Review
HUSK Review
Cemetery Man Review
Seconds Apart Review
Buried Review
The Uninvited (1944) Review
Direct Your Own Damn Movie Review
City of the Living Dead (1980)Review
The Forest (1982) Review
JIGOKU (1960) Review
Let The Right One In Review
Lost Boys: The Thirst Review
Near Dark (1987) Review
The Human Centipede Review
Thirst (2009) Review
Night School (1981) Review
Night of The Demons (Remake) Review
The Splat Pack Review
The Maid Review
Hatchet II Review
The Last Exorcism Review
Victim Review
Shadowland Review
Bloody New Year Review
Black Christmas (1974) Review
Splice Review
The Art of Hammer Review (Book)
Doghouse Review
The Blair Witch Project Review
Horror Movie Freak Review (Book)
Lake Placid 3 Review
Paranormal Activity Review
Sella Turcica Review
The House of The Devil Review
UNDEAD Review (Novel)
The Woman In Black Review
Ghost Story Review
Eraserhead Review
Day of The Dead Review
The Woman Review
Night Of The Living Dead Review
Terror at Red Wolf Inn Review
The Theatre Bizarre Review
The Mortician Movie Review
Happy Birthday To Me Review
Mountaintop Motel Massacre Film Review
Frankenhooker Blu-Ray Review
The Necro Files Review
Donner Pass Review
Shark Night Review
Night Feeders Review
New Year's Evil Review
Never Sleep Again Review
Creature Review
Haunting at The Beacon Review
Zombie Review
Chromeskull Laid to Rest 2 Review
Devil's Rock Review
Fright Night (Remake) Review
Area 51 Review
Five Senses (comic) Review
Antropophagus Review
Lightning Bug Review
Never Feed the Troll Review
Alone in The Dark Review
Dead Alive Review
Zeke Review
Laid to Rest Review
The Beyond Review
Monsterwolf Review
Splinter Review
Mirrors 2 Review
Mail Order Review
Snowtown Review
The Dead Review
The Shrine Review
Run Bitch Run Review
Mutilation Mile Review
The Howling Reborn Review
The Human Centipede 2 Review
The Walking Dead Review
The Echo Review
Dream House Review
Yellow Brick Road Review
Baby Blood Review
Halloween 3 Review
Feast Review
The Child's Eye Review
Scourge Review
Martyrs Review
Mothman Review
Wrong Turn 4 Review
The Keep Review
Red State Review
Paranormal Activity 3 Review
Deviling Review
Slugs Review
Nightmare on Elm Street 2 Review
Night of The Hunter Review
Pick Me Up Review
Hillside Cannibals Review
Friday the 13th (1980) Review
The Green Monster Review
The Thing (2011) Review
Night of The Vampire Review
Killer Review
Alyce Review
The Fog Review
Of Unknown Origin Review
The Revenant Review
Exit 33 Review
Rage of the Yeti Review
Let's Scare Jessica to Death Review
Territories Review
Blood Freak Review
Solstice Review
Blood Roses Review
The Haunting Review
Silent Night Deadly Night Review
Silent Night Deadly Night Review Review
Rare Exports Review
Ashes Review
Perfect Witness Review
Santa's Slay Review
Little Deaths Review
Lips of Blood Review
Bill Oberst Jr.
Silent Night Deadly Night 5 Review
Don't Let Him Review
Hell Driver Review