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REVIEW “Oculus” (2013, movie)

20140316042141!Oculus    Director/Writer:  Mike Flanagan

Teenage Tim Russell is convicted and institutionalized for the mysterious and brutal murder of his parents. The only witness, his sister Kaylie, believes that the crime was committed by the supernatural force behind the “Lasser Glass”, an antique mirror that their father bought.
Ten years after this tragedy, Tim is released from the mental institution, and Kaylie, determined to prove Tim’s innocence, takes the old mirror to their childhood home, and surround the haunted object with all kind of technological gadgets to record all paranormal occurrences. And once again, the adult siblings are face to face with their childhood nightmare.

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The movie plot weaves between two timelines, the siblings childhood and their present as adults. The two timelines unfold in a parallel manner, culminating with two climaxes, one from the past, and the other from the present day. While this works in the first half, this gimmick gets old very quickly.

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I really wanted to appreciate this movie, i loved Mike Flanagan’s indie “Absentia”, and hoped to see more of that. But Oculus is neither scary or that smart. While “Absentia” was a powerful horror tale about the hopelessness and the desperation of those dealing with missing relatives, “Oculus” is about the enduring trauma of familial dysfunction. The acting is fine and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) delivers a great performance, but eventually the film becomes little more than a series of deadly hallucinations with a predictable ending. How in the hell could anyone win to a super powerful haunted mirror with the ability to compel people to commit murder or suicide? An that’s a big problem, there are no rules, ant that’s takes some power from the film. In this paranormal battle, the entity wins all the time.

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“Oculus” is a watchable horror movie that struggles to generate enough shocks and twists to sustain its length. And it is just that, an overstretched version of the director’s short “Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan”. It begins strong with an original premise, but ends with no twists or surprises.

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