Don’t believe everything you see, don’t trust the person on the other end of the phone, and no matter what you do, don’t go near your mirror.
The Russell family moves into a new house to start an even better life than before. Alan (Rory Cochrane), the husband and father, purchases an antique mirror to decorate his office. The vintage mirror has a timeless appeal, and fits nicely with the other decor. Over time the plants in the house all die, and the dog goes missing after being locked in the office with the mirror. Marie (Katee Sackhoff), the wife and mother, falls ill, losing her strength and her mind. Meanwhile, Alan spends nearly all of time in his office with a mysterious woman from the mirror. The kids, Kaylie and Tim, remain terrified by the state of their parents, but unaffected by the mirror. When Marie comes after them with intent to kill, Alan fatally shoots her, and then comes after the kids himself, leaving young Tim no choice but to shoot his father. Tim is taken away, only to be released 11 years later. He is ready to move forward with his life, but Kaylie is ready to prove once and for all that the mirror is evil.
I look for three things when watching a horror movie: The absence of over used jump scares, an interesting plot, and a truly scary vibe overall. This movie had two of these qualities, but lacked the third. The jump scares were left packed up for the amateurs. If a film can reduce the amount of typical cliches, such as jump scares, then I’m always very grateful. So thank you “Oculus”!!! Secondly, the story was very interesting. The movie’s trailer demonstrated the plot very well, and it’s precisely what drew me in. There are some issues that I will cover in this area, but over all I was impressed.
Was the movie scary though?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but no. If you are a thrill seeker and are looking for something to scare the bajeebers out of you, then this is not your movie. I was utterly disappointed with the horror factor of “Oculus”. I had higher hopes for the film that just couldn’t “get it up” in the horror department. If only there was a pill for movies.
In addition to boring my horror senses, I had some issues with the plot itself. Why didn’t Kaylie just move on with her life? If she really wanted to prove the sinister nature of the mirror, why didn’t she give in and just do it before her brother was released? Did she really need him? And how could she be so selfishly stupid, and drag her brother, who was just released from the psychiatric hospital, back into this mess? I get that she wanted to prove her brothers innocence, and that she wanted to prove that her parents weren’t crazy. But if she loved Tim that much, she should have been trying to prove this sooner, so that he could get out that hospital, rather than losing a full 11 years of his life.
Where it went right…
My “WTF questions” aside, the history behind the mirror was very interesting. Most importantly though, were the mirror’s powers over it’s owners. It had the ability to suck the life from the things near it, such as plants and animals. Fed with this energy, it could bend reality to it’s will, and turn your world upside down. You see what it wants you to see. Think your in the front yard? Not a chance…your still in the upstairs hallway. With an uncertain reality in front of you, how do you destroy a mirror that has the ability to brilliantly fool you? That is the ultimate question.
Total Abstract Rating: 80% I can appreciate the plot, and do without the scare on this one. I really enjoyed this film.
Thank you for reading. Written by Chris McBride, author of Abstracticality.