Thanks to films like The Conjuring and Insidious the haunting horror genre is gaining more popularity again, but sadly more often than not they just don’t work. The latest looking to bring something new to the genre is Oculus that sports a few recognizable faces with Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, and Karen Gillan, but none of the usual superstar power that studios like to thrust into these films. Could this film come off as creepy and haunting as the trailer appears or is it all just smoke and mirrors?
Oculus follows a brother and sister who ten years previous the brother was convicted of their parent’s brutal murder. Now in his 20s he has been released from the metal hospital and just wants move on with his life: but his sister is convinced her parents’ deaths were caused by something else altogether: a malevolent supernatural force unleashed through the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home. Determined to prove his innocence, she tracks down the mirror, only to learn similar deaths have befallen previous owners over the past century. With the mysterious entity now back in their hands, they soon find their hold on reality shattered by terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that their childhood nightmare is beginning again. When this film begins things seem a bit forced as they are trying to set things up, but quickly takes a turn for the better. The story bounces between the past and present, merging it together seamlessly to create a unique delivery to the story. As it moves along it gives you just enough information from the past to create a possible direction that will keep you guessing while never trying to be over complicated.
The cast does a good job with their respective characters. The older brother and sister played by Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites take a little to really find their grove in the finished product, but once they get to the meat of the story they really come into their own. The always great Katee Sackhoff knocks it out of the park here. She isn’t shown as much in the trailers, which actually came as pleasant surprise to see what she delivers. She is mostly known for the strong powerful female characters and still has that presence here, but gets to showcase a more vulnerable side as well as insanity that she kills. The use of using a very small cast keeps things tight and streamlined and a better executed film overall.
While there isn’t a ton of effects, the look of the creepy characters look great and really add that needed element to this genre. They have taken what could have been just another average horror film and elevated it to that next level to create a clever and unique film that is sure to please. As with most of these types of films it lends itself to be able to do more chapters and intelligently with a new story and cast, while still being able to bring some of these people back, which will make more sense when you see the finished product. If you are fans of these kinds of films then give this one a shot as it delivers way more than you might expect.
For more information head over to http://oculus2014.com/