Oculus (2013)


Plot: Haunted by the violent demise of their parents 10 years earlier, adult siblings Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites) are now struggling to rebuild their relationship. Kaylie suspects that their antique mirror, known as the Lasser Glass, is behind the tragedy. The seemingly harmless reflections contain a malevolent, supernatural force that infects the mind of anyone who gazes into it. As Kaylie gets closer to the truth, the siblings become caught in the mirror’s evil spell.

Twenty-one year-old Timothy “Tim” Allen Russell is discharged from a mental institution by his psychiatrist apparently healed from a childhood trauma. Kaylie is shown getting a vintage mirror through an auction along with her boyfriend who also happens to be her colleague but it’s obvious he knows nothing about her past. Kaylie welcomes her brother and brings him home. Then she tells him that they need to destroy the same ancient mirror that she just bought. A reluctant Tim follows his sister and has fragmented recollections from his childhood about the time his mother Marie buys a mirror for the home office of their father Alan. The addition of that mirror brings the strangest changes to their childhood home and Kaylie and Tim both see a woman with their father in his office. Suddenly, the behaviors of Alan and Marie change, and everything goes haywire, dark things start happening around the home and no one knows what is going on and before anyone can do anything about it, the worse happens.

Now Kaylie blames the mirror and she wants to destroy it with Tim. The rest of the story is about Tim telling her that they just hallucinated something and made things up in their mind to erase the trauma, but Kaylie is sure that there was something supernatural going on and is a little annoyed that Tim let himself forget all about it. Through the same fragments, which is a stylistic approach by the director that makes this movie so much more special because you see the past not as something that has happened, but as something that is still happening–a lot like traumatic events that don’t leave you even years later.


There is some gore but overall it’s the frightening elements of the supernatural entity namely the mirror that cause most of the horror in this film. It captured my attention until the end because truly I was dying to find out what it really is and the ending though it might not have been satisfactory for some, I found just perfect for this kind of a story.

*SPOILER ALERT* Personally I like that film was about a traumatic time in the children’s lives and I love horror that stands not for the blood and gore or the supernatural being itself, but for the subtext, which in this case was the stuff that the children lived through and at one point, Tim actually gives a very good explanation of what’s really going on but from what I gather, the whole film was a euphemism for a couple of siblings struggling with childhood trauma. As for the matter of whether the fiance was actually killed, I think he did die, because obviously the sister is not mentally stable either, which is something they keep hinting at in the beginning: saying to Tim that his sister hasn’t had the ‘help’ that he had et cetera. And Tim, who looks stable in the beginning part of the movie, also gets into the same unstable mindset by the end and ends up killing her. Even the tagline: “You see what it wants you to see” is basically a variation of “You see what you want to see” *END OF SPOILER*

Yes, it’s not a perfect film in any way, not even close to be honest. It could have been better directed and the acting could definitely have been better, the characterization too, of the brother and sister as new adults seemed somewhat lacking, but all in all this was truly one of the best films I’ve seen in the horror genre recently.

oculus poster


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