If you want an idea of where the future of horror lies then Oculus is a great introduction to just that. Horror movies are heading down a road of not necessarily creating something wholly new, but by presenting it to you in ways you have not seen before. Also in a world full of ADHD riddled adults this film serves those people as that jump around borderline confusing style that horror movies have adopted like a cute redheaded girl named Annie.
The basic concept of the film is a bit difficult to get into (please see the ADHD comment above unless you skipped it cause you have it). The short of it is; as children two siblings went through a tragic event that left them scarred more than Kreuger and the sister having believed she found the cause has one night to kill it and stop it from happening again. Did I mention the thing responsible is a living evil mirror that would make the wicked queen jealous? Yeah that is only the beginning of the insanity of this film.
The film will play out like several films you have seen where you wonder what is going on, but this film will do it in ways you have not experienced. The common threads pop up where you spend the movie going “oh it is a dream”, “they are already dead”, “she is just crazy”, “this is all in her head”, “shit you know this is just gonna be some ‘the mirror really wasn’t evil’ bullshit.” Unlike most movies you will guess all of these. I recommend watching with friends, pausing ten minutes from the ending, comparing notes to what you think will happen and then see who got closest as no one will get it right. This film makes you go “what the fuck?” more than a 2am trip to Wal-Mart, but you’ll like this one.
Remember when I mentioned a cute redhead above? Well, did I mention this film stars Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame. Yep that cute ass girl who waited decided to branch into more roles and if seeing her as a bald blue skinned girl in Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t scratch the right spot then I recommend checking her out in this. She is hot, blazing redhead and borderline psychotic, so you know… the perfect girl! If you have seen DW then you know the character she is playing in this (think The Silence era) and while it does not show a lot of branching out it; fits this film perfectly.
Beside her through the film you have her brother played by Brenton Thwaites (a fake name if ever I have heard one! Oh wait… that is his real name… wow.. really?). You may know him from the recent Maleficent or the just released The Giver. He definitely stretches out here playing the unbelieving and mentally unstable character which means he spends the movie calling his sister nuts and no matter how strange shit gets he is hesitant to buy any of it. Look, if someone says bad shit happens cause of a mirror, yeah you question it. Once the bad shit starts happening then just go with it man! I really wish horror movies would get away from this archetype, but that is another article.
And rounding out the cast is; no one else that matters cause this film is 90% these two characters. Oculus does not feel a need to blow a big budget by throwing in a ton of names or overly complicating things. Hell, most the film takes place in and around one room in the house. This is a simple film shot in 24 days and frankly plays better than horror movies with 4x the budget and 3x the filming length. The film jumps around like a coked up kangaroo, but is still done in a sleek manner that feels very solid proving low budget and tight schedules does not have to equal a bad horror movie (you hear that SyFy?!).
One of the biggest and best parts to help explain the insanity is that the film actually goes into real world paranormal theories. Karen’s character quotes several considered facts of parapsychology and methods you can see on things like Ghost Hunters or mentions in several documentaries. Most movies with ghosts just make up their own shit cause fuck it ghosts aren’t real, right? It is nice to see someone actually write what “experts” in this field to be accurate to give the film a much more realistic depth.
With it’s small scale budget fun, intriguing story telling, and great acting this film is a pretty high must watch for any horror fan. Love it or hate it this is the future of horror and if they keep churning flicks like these out then it may not be a bad thing. Oculus easily pulls down a 4 out of 5 scars on my list.