Karen Gillan as Kaylie Russell
Brenton Thwaites as Tim Russell
Rory Cochrane as Alan Russell
Katee Sackhoff as Marie Russell
In theaters April 11
4 out of 5
When Tim was ten, he and his sister Kaylie were witness to their father imprisoning and torturing their mother. He then shot her to death and turned his murderous madness on his children. When he attempted to kill Kaylie, Tim shot him dead in self-defense. Then he and Kaylie were split up. She went into the foster system while he went to a mental hospital, because he kept claiming it wasn’t his father’s fault, it was a mirror that drove him mad.
Ten years later, doctors have determined that Tim has finally let go of his delusion and is fully recovered. Tim is being released from the hospital. His sister Kaylie is there to pick him up. Tim is supposed to be “protecting” his recovery by moving on, but while Tim was in the hospital, Kaylie has been searching for the huge antique mirror that hung in their dad’s office. She has finally located it, and she wants Tim to help her follow through on the promise they made to each other when they were separated ten years ago: the promise to one day kill the mirror, to extinguish the supernatural force that drove her mother and father to insanity and ruined their lives. Tim has forgotten most of the tragedy, but Kaylie has not. She has been researching the mirror’s macabre history and is determined to put an end to it.
Oculus is a mildly creepy yet interesting horror film. Nice casting with Rory Cochrane (Dazed and Confused, Argo) and Katee Sackhoff (Longmire, Battlestar Galactica) as the parents who slowly came to insanity under the spell of the mirror. Austrailian newcomer Brenton Thwaites as Tim is sufficiently vapid enough to be a mental ward candidate, but he’s supposed to be a blank slate. The heart of the film is Karen Gillan’s performance. Doctor Who fans will recognize Karen from her role as Amy Pond. Her character Kaylie’s obsession with destroying the mirror is what drives this film. As we see how the mirror destroyed their lives we see her steely resolve to kill it once and for all.
The film is somewhat creepy and entertaining. There are a couple of jump scares that are pretty good, but I don’t think they took this film as far as they could have. It could have been even more creepy and more horrifying. The story about the mirror’s history alone is very compelling. For the hard core horror fan you might find it a little slow in some places, but as it is, Oculus is not bad. I would recommend waiting till the dollar show for this one though. Barring that, Netfilx.
Check out the trailer for “OCULUS” below: