Hey gang, Valkor here. And it’s good to see the folks over at the WWE really start to branch out above and beyond just wrestling; I’ve only watched a handful of their films (i.e. The Marine series) and for the most part I’ve enjoyed the experience. Then I watched Oculus and now I kinda want to see more of what the WWE (along with Intrepid Pictures and Blumhouse Productions) has to offer. Because this one started out paint-by-the-numbers, but wound up… well… read on.
Oculus centers on siblings Tim (Brenton Thwaites) and Kaylie (Karen Gillan), who as siblings were dealt a pretty traumatic experience involving a haunted mirror. This strange mirror slowly began to posses the parents until they went apeshit and all hell broke loose, ending with Tim killing the father and winding up in the nuthut.
Fast-forward eleven years later, Tim is about to be released from his mental prison with sister Kaylie at the wait. She reminds him of a promise they made before he got locked up that the two would destroy the very same mirror responsible for the destruction of their once happy home. While Tim was locked away, Kaylie has used that time to study the mirror’s past; She’s even gone so far as to track down the mirror through her current company and had it stored in their old home until it can be sent to its new owner. The plan is to prove once and for all that Tim wasn’t responsible for the death of their father and to reveal the true nature of the mirror. Tim has already put up a mental block about the events that have happened, no longer believing anything supernatural occurred. But when similar incidences start happening all over again, the two must face their past to destroy that which haunts their present and end the haunting once and for all.
Oculus does something unique, but not necessarily by paralleling Tim and Kaylie’s youth events with that of what’s happening in their adult life, both involving how they face the deadly mirror and it has effects on themselves and their family. It's unique in how the two lines eventually converge, with gruesome results. But we’ll find out more as we dip into the TOV Breakdown.
For the first hour, I was just “OK” with Oculus as I felt it was pretty standard stuff with an uber-creepy and dark tone – the story moved along at an OK pace (though it dragged in some areas) and the scares were minimal, but decent. However it’s when the two worlds began to mesh together (subtle at first, picking up as the film progresses) and Tim and Kaylie’s past blends with the present, that’s when my ears perked up and I was attentive until the very end. What I also enjoyed about Oculus is how the film keeps you and the characters guessing as to what’s real and what’s a lie; I mean, just when you think you’ve got a handle on things, it tosses in something that’ll fuck you up (i.e. the apple/lightbulb scene from the trailer)And then there’s the ending. And what an ending! It might be predictable, but when it happens, it’s really in your face! The ending works because everything before it is just so frantic with the weaving of the two worlds and the increased intensity of the situations that makes the ending pop! The visuals are pretty impressive with a nice mix of practical and CG that balances the scares and the gore; that lightbulb/apple scene you see in the trailer was just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s still cringeworthy seeing it in full context. And then there’s the ghost chick from the mirror, she pops in and out at just the right moments to give you a fright. The acting is top notch and both young and old Tim and Kaylie give amazing performances. In the end, the WWE scores a huge win with Oculus; it’s an impressive horror film worthy of joining some of the best of the best in the genre.
There were some areas that dragged, especially mid way before things get all chaotic. But that’s really small potatoes considering the pay off you get once the film kicks it into high gear.
That apple/lightbulb tho…
Oculus is making the theatrical rounds and if you’re a fan of horror or looking for something unique, then definitely give this film a go. It’s got some nice scares and great buildup towards one climatic ending. I highly recommend chexking it out. And out of TOV 5 stars, Oculus gets a 4.5.