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James Porter

Movie Review - Oculus.

Directed By: Mike Flanagan.

Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff.

A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.

Oculus is the story of Kaley and Tim, a brother and sister who in their younger years were haunted by a mirror. The mirror destroyed their family and now they're back to destroy it, but there's one small problem.....this mirror fights back.

This mirror's history goes back centuries and throughout its long life, it has caused a lot of fatalities. Kaley and Tim go back to their childhood home to conquer their fears and end any more anguish and torture that this mirror will cause.

Oculus is a horror movie that grips you and doesn't let go until hours after the final credits roll. Thanks to the remarkably twisted but inventive mind of director Mike Flanagan and the films six terrific lead performances, Oculus is a film that has you hooked from its commencement.

Oculus is a movie that tells two stories. We see how the Russell family was torn apart by this mirror, how it possessed Kaley and Tim's parents and then we skip forward 12 years and we see Kaley and Tim attempt to destroy this evil.

This is one of the most chilling and slick horror flicks to have released in recent years.

Karen Gillan (Guardians Of The Galaxy) plays Kaley Russell, a curiously brave woman who decides enough is enough, she has been hunting down the mirror for years and takes matters into her own hands to end the evil that this immobile object possesses. Karen Gillan played a prominent role in the hit UK Sci-Fi show, Doctor Who, she makes her mark on the big screen here with a great performance. She's tough when she needs to be but that layer is peeled away throughout the film as the horror just gets more terrifying by the minute.

Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent) plays Tim Russell, he's recently released from a psychiatric institution on his 21st birthday, he is quite the opposite of Kaley, he just wants to forget the events of his childhood and lead a normal life. Brenton was surprisingly great throughout, especially in the films chilling final scene.

Gillan and Thwaites' counterparts astound in their small roles and express the dread and panic effortlessly.

Katee Sackhoff (Riddick) and Rory Cochrane (Argo) shine as the parents in the past segments of the film. Sackhoff goes completely insane when she is possessed where as Cochrane takes a more perversely sinister route. Both do a masterful job in their respective roles.

Oculus transitions fluently between the two time periods, often combining the two to disorientate both the characters and the audience. The present day versions of Kaley and Tim more than once cross paths with their younger counterparts, a narrative element that serves both the story and the terror excellently.

In different hands, Oculus could have become more mind boggling than intriguing but Mike Flanagan directs the film with such care and precision that its hard not to be astounded by the genius of Oculus.

Oculus has everything from your standard jump scares, to gore but most importantly it has your blood pumping throughout because of how tense it is.

Kaley rigs up all kinds of lights, cameras and traps for the mirror but the mirror is always one step ahead. Oculus plays better as a cerebral thriller but its has its fair share of jump scares and blood shed and is definitely not one for those with an uneasy stomach.

Mind games are played throughout and like the characters, the audience is puzzled from start to finish, what is real....what is illusion? "Is this real?" is the question that will be on your mind for the majority of the films run time.

At first glance, Oculus looks like your average supernatural horror flick but it is so much more! It is relentless in its terror and its unfathomable intelligence and will leave you breathless. You will be blown away by the fact that one of 2014's greatest movie villains is a mirror suspended on a wall.

Oculus is ceaseless in its ability to obscure the mind, perplex the imagination and captivate its audience.

Oculus could have benefited from the use of obscure cinematography, for such a mind bending story, the camera work was very conventional and for the disorientation to have leaked into the cinematography would have been great.

The finale to Oculus was a massive surprise, the ending does make the rest of the film actually seem ineffectual in the fact that the characters actions had no positive outcome, but the ending is one that will surprise you and I can't fault the movie for that.

This new horror flick is one that satisfy's to the very core and is a work of genius. It's packed with intrigue, chills and pure terror. This is a movie that will come back to haunt you when you least expect it. I'm giving Oculus an A-!


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