‘You see what it wants you to see.’
Oculus is a 2013 American supernatural horror feature film from Jason Blum, the producer of Paranormal Activity and Insidious. It was directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game; Before I Wake; Abstentia) from a screenplay co-written with Jeff Howard. The feature is based on a 2006 short film Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan.
It was released in the United States on April 11, 2014 by Intrepid Pictures/Relativity, then digital HD July 29, 2014 and Blu-ray and DVD August 5, 2014.
The movie stars Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Outcast), Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane (Dazed and Confused) and Katee Sackhoff (Riddick).
Ten years previously, tragedy struck the Russell family, leaving the lives of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie forever changed when Tim was convicted of the brutal murder of their parents.
Now in his twenties, Tim is newly released from protective custody and only wants to move on with his life; but Kaylie, still haunted by that fateful night, 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 Tim’s innocence, Kaylie 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, Tim and Kaylie soon find their hold on reality shattered by terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that their childhood nightmare is beginning again…
“A good, small-scale horror movie with unusually interesting roles for cult TV stars Gillan and Sackhoff — who both get more to do than play scared and run screaming. Flanagan is a director to watch.” Kim Newman, Empire
“Oculus, a cleverer-than-average haunted-house movie currently in theaters, speaks to a couple of widespread anxieties—one topical, the other sadly timeless. Director Mike Flanagan integrates these concerns into the horror-movie mechanics with some grace, making for a more involving entertainment than Insidious or The Conjuring…” Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
“When the scares do occur, they aren’t cheap. There are some jump scares here and there with the use of loud cues and large images but Oculus somewhat goes into the “James Wan style”… Practical effects are losing the battle to CGI (no surprise) but there are many appropriate films that they can be used subtly, wisely and effectively and Oculus takes huge advantage of this.” Dylan Hoang, Moviepilot
• Audio commentary by Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy
• Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Flanagan and Macy
• “Inside the Mirror: Creating Oculus” featurette
• Original 33-minute Oculus short film with optional commentary by Flanagan and Macy
• Theatrical trailer
“Oculus is well-acted, looks quite good, and manages some moments of entertainment, but as the minutes tick by it grows weaker and weaker until its final cheat designed to allow for a shocker ending.” Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects
“Flanagan effectively turns his inanimate killer very much into an entity that’s just as deadly as anything with a pulse – a remarkable feat – all while cleverly concocting an intriguing and complicated tale that isn’t afraid to get a little nasty.” Heather Wixson, Daily Dead
“You won’t exactly go home thinking twice about the mirror in your own home; this ghost story is not that effective, or that memorable. Still, for fans of the genre, the unique stylistic approach to haunted house horror will be a novelty of sorts – just don’t be disappointed when it all ends with a fizzle instead of a bang.” Kofi Outlaw, Screen Rant
Tim Russell: “It wasn’t me! It was the mirror!”
Cast and characters:
- Karen Gillan as Kaylie Russell
Annalise Basso as 12-year-old Kaylie
- Brenton Thwaites as Tim Russell
Garrett Ryan as 10-year-old Tim
- Rory Cochrane as Alan Russell
- Katee Sackhoff as Marie Russell
- James Lafferty as Michael Dumont
- Miguel Sandoval as Dr. Graham
- Kate Siegel as Marisol Chavez