I was really looking forward to Oculus. When I first saw the trailer I thought it looked decent. Then I remembered WWE Studios hasn’t really made any spectacular movies. The ones they have made that were decent, however are horror movies (See No Evil, No One Lives). Unfortunately Oculus wasn’t one of them. Thankfully my hopes were already lowered when I noticed the words “From the producers of Paranormal Activity” on the poster in the theater. Spoilers ahead, folks.
The film opens with 21 year old Tim “Timbo” Russel (played by Brenton Thwaites) being released from a mental facility. Apparently he was in there for something that happened ten years prior. He reconnects with his sister Kaylie Russell (played by Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan) who is now 23 (I’m not buying it) and an antiques dealer assistant(?) I’m not exactly sure what her job was but she finds and apprehends a mirror from their childhood. A mirror that seems to be linked to many mysterious deaths. Ten years prior this mirror caused their parents to go crazy. The mother begins to believe the father is cheating. She thinks this after young Kaylie mentions seeing a woman in his office (yea you guessed it a ghost!) The father spends ever increasing time in his office slowly going insane (think “The Shining”) ending with little Tim saving his sister by shooting his father, who seemed to come back to his senses long enough to tell him to do it. Now we know why Tim was sent to the mental facility. Kaylie has set up the mirror again in their childhood home, and has set up an “experiment”. Lots of video cameras to document phenomena (Jeez can these guys get a new schtick. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought I was watching Paranormal Activity 5, or are they at 6 now? Anyway plants die unexpectedly (yea so terrifying!) They see a few ghosts, and their childhood dog. It all leads up to a very predictable ending which I won’t spoil.
The ghosts are creepy, and there a few cringe worthy moments. One involves a staple remover, and another involves a light bulb. The acting was good, but it just didn’t feel like anything new. The atmosphere is generally creepy as you would expect from a ghost movie. It’s also worth noting apparently this movie started as a short film (Oculus chapter 3: The Mirror. Please god don’t let there be a sequel.) We never get to find out the motives of the ghosts as is typical for these kinds of movies. Is there another world on the other side of the mirror? We will never know (unless there IS a sequel, maybe). All in all Oculus was a decent enough movie, but nothing special. Surely it’s not “Deeply terrifying” as Stephen King was quoted as saying. If you still want to see Oculus after reading this, I suggest waiting for Red box or Netflix. Oculus is worth a one time watch, but not worth owning or paying full theater price for. I give it 2.5 stars out of 5. Karen Gillan fans don’t feel too bad, she has a blockbuster on her hands this August when “Guardians of the Galaxy” hits theaters.