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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Oculus

June 10th, 2014 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Oculus (18)
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites & Katee Sackhoff
Running time: 104 min

A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.

Tim (Thwaites), a 21-year-old, is released from a mental hospital for shooting his father eleven years earlier. Released into the care of his sister Kaylie (Gillan), he wants to forget his murky past and start afresh.

But Kaylie has other ideas. Believing that the events that happened in her childhood were not as they seemed, she coerces Tim to confront his ‘demons’ from that horrific night in their childhood. The night when their father seemingly tortured and murdered their mother in front of them.

But as they try to confront whatever they believe it may have been, both brother and sister will have to look hard into their souls and try to find out what the truth really is, and more importantly, not believe everything they see.

Oculas is a horror story that is told in the old school way, ie virtually no CGI, layer upon layer of plot and cranking up the tension to a near unbearable level. The script, whilst at first seeming a novel idea of a haunted mirror, fleets back and forth in time from the sporadic to the almost nauseating and frustratingly constant, especially towards the end. Whilst it does add tension, there are increasing times when it simply becomes annoying and, at times, confusing.

The younger brother and sister interact well and the audience will certainly sympathise with their predicament even though, at times, it may be through the peeping of hands covering eyes. The current day selves however, seem to lack the charm and comaderie their younger selves had.

Whilst Brenton Twaites does a fairly decent job as the older Tim, Karen Gillan as the older Kaylie has certainly shied away from her Doctor Who persona to deliver at times a frightening performance and at times a quite annoying delivery (especially during her piece to the camera on the history of events), with Katee Sackoff and Rory Cochrane rounding off the cast as Mom and Dad.

Director Mike Flanagan has clearly taken elements from classic horror films such as The Shining, with the score for Oculas clearly heavily influenced by Ennio Morricone’s pulsating rhythm beats from The Thing and he’s created a modern day horror film that will have viewers chewing their finger nails (and perhaps scratching their heads) throughout the running time.

Whilst there is one glaringly obvious plot point over looked, the ending is one that some may see coming from the films climatic final third. An interesting horror film that is old school in tension, but one that could have had cheers from an audience as opposed to the stoney silence as the credits rolled.

3 out of 5 Nerds

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.