You don’t understand, we’re all in this together! It makes everything that way. It pulls you in!
Hello moviegoers, writer-director Mike Flanagan takes material that could have easily gotten lost in trying to be scary and tells the tragic story of the Russell family in ‘Oculus’. From the Latin oculus, which means eye and denotes a circular opening in the center of a dome or in a wall. Here, the oculus is represented by an antique mirror which Kaylie Russell (Gillan) aims to documents as having waged a centuries-long rampage of death and destruction on whom ever possesses the mirror. Kaylie, now 23 years old, is played by (Karen Gillan) with knowing determination and really supplies the voltage for the narrative.
Its ten years later and Kaylie’s younger brother Tim, 21, played by (Brenton Thwaites) has just been released from the mental facility where he has been held and receiving treatment for killing his dad by gunfire, and insisting that the possessed mirror in his dad’s office was responsible for his dad, Alan, played by (Rory Cochrane) killing his mom, Marie, played by (Katee Sackhofft).
‘Oculus’ (3 sweet potatoes out of four) Stars: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan; Director: Mike Flanagan; Genre: Horror Psychological; Rated: R; Runtime: 105 minutes; Opens: Friday, April 11, 2014.
No sooner than Tim is released, Kaylie seems to be conspiring against him to undo all the good work that was done on Tim in the psych ward. Her motives, however, are driven by the promise she and Tim made as kids to destroy the mirror and exonerate the family name. Kaylie has dedicated her entire life to this promise and the endgame is in reach. She even works as an art curator which provides her the access she needs to the mirror. Tim is reluctant but goes along with the plan while he tries, with scientific explanations for everything they went through as children, to talk Kaylie out of her well thought out plan to prove the mirror is the cause of observable paranormal phenomena.
‘Oculus’ goes back and forth between the pass events that have led to present-day where the Oculus starts to creep its way back into the psyche of the adult Russell children. Young Tim and Kaylie are played by (Garrett Ryan) and (Annalise Basso) respectively. They are excellent and paint the Russell children as afraid but resilient in the face of an unseen terror that slowly takes their parents away from them – and you are pulled in as you pull for the kids.
The movie is much more psychological than it is boogieman horror in the story that’s told. Why these people; and the people before them? Did they have some predisposition that would lead to them gaining possession of this mirror that must do them harm. Or, were they all just unlucky patrons who thought the mirror would look nice in a room in their home, and life is more unlucky than it is fair. A psychologically wrenching movie. I give ‘Oculus’ 3 sweet potatoes out of four.
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