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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Movie Review: Oculus

If your family name was dragged into the mud would you do anything to clear it? In April 2014, Kaylie just wanted the world to know that her father wasn't the monster he was thought to be.

Directing this 105 minute horror is Mike Flanagan.

Telling this tale is: Karen Gillan as Kaylie Russell, Breton Thwaites as Tim Russell, Rory Cochrane as Alan Russell, Katee Sackhoff as Marie Russell, Annalise Basso as Young Kaylie and Garrett Ryan as Young Tim.

When Kaylie and Tim were kids something tragic happened to their family. Now, years later, Kaylie wants to prove what really happened in their home eleven years ago. She wants to show the world the truth about an antique mirror that hung in her home, and the bloody history it has. Kaylie wants Tim to be with her when she
does all of this, but stepping back into their childhood home after all this time could prove to be too much for Tim. Especially after Kaylie starts digging up the past. Together again, these two walk down memory lane reliving the nightmare they survived as kids.

I had mixed feelings going into this one, the trailer looked good, but unfortunately a lot of trailers "look good". Like usual, you finally get a chance to see the movie and of course all the best parts of the film were in the trailer, which leaves you with nothing left for a surprise. This one's no different I'm afraid. A couple of spots that would have added a really good moment in the movie was spoiled because you notice it from the trailer, and knew what was coming.

Come to find out this movie is based on a short film by Mike Flanagan, called Oculus: Chapter 3 - The Man with the Plan. After already giving Flanagan 105 minutes of my life to watch this flick, I didn't care how "short" the other film was. I had no desire to check it out.
                                                            

The storyline that writers Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard came up with was interesting, and the playthrough had moments of potential. Yet overall this would have been better labeled a thriller instead of a horror. Aside from the supernatural aspect of the film, it doesn't really do anything to scare you. Now, you may jump in a spot or two, but have no fear... you won't be scared here. One of the things about the playthrough that interested me would have to be the way they told the story. You get a mix of past and present that comes together to tell the whole story. Downside is that it can be a little confusing at first with the back and forth with no real markers to help you figure out where you are. After a few times you get your bearings and everything moves easier from then on. Sadly, the idea of a mirror as the big bad evil isn't anything new. Even sadder, the film didn't bring any new cool twists or angles about big bad mirrors. It just reinforced that mirrors... can be freaking creepy. Duh!

The cast was ok, but I think the work Thwaites did with his character was the best. Other than that, Gillan (who's well known for her role in Doctor Who) played a driven, almost forceful character that's hard to get behind.

Good camera work did most of the heavy lifting in this flick (building the moments etc.), but the special effects were good (when they used them). Really nothing grand came stood out in this movie to make it stand out in the horror genre.

Have you ever watched something and after it was over you knew it wasn't anything great, but then reality painfully kicked you in the face and you knew this would become one of those films that (for some reason) would have a series of sequels? The movie has a hook that could keep being replayed over... and over. It focuses on an item that can be move from place to place. So with that, there's potential of multiple films, but if ran the same way as this flick, it'll only be worthy of running straight to DVD with nothing more than the same story being replayed. Paranormal Activity anyone?

Overall, it has good camera work, spots of imagination and a storyline that can be recycled until the cows come home. I've been picking my brain on this one. I, by choice, wouldn't pay to watch this movie, yet I can't think of a way to view it without spending money. Theater - ticket, streaming - membership fee, downloading (bad pirate) - cost of internet. So, if somehow you could find a free way to watch it, then jump on it. Maybe talk a friend into renting it on their dime, and then owe them big time for that one. Other than that, let this one pass you by and save 105 minutes of your life. If you really need a scary mirror movie, might I suggest Candyman (1992).

It's rated R for violence and language.

The films pitch was "You see what it wants you to see.". Well, apparently the mirror didn't want me to see a good movie... 2 stars.


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