View Full Version : Oculus (Mike Flanagan)

Stay Puft
04-04-2014, 01:30 AM
Dir. Mike Flanagan

IMDb page (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2388715/)


Stay Puft
04-04-2014, 01:31 AM
My brief reaction from TIFF last year:

A horror movie about a mirror that kills people. It sounds ridiculous but actually kinda worked for me, for two reasons: 1) the mirror is a character with a specific set of character traits, so that its behavior in the story is predictable and internally consistent, something supernatural movies like this tend to ignore; and 2) the film boasts a dynamic plot that intertwines two time periods, which serves multiple purposes of course (exposition, backstory, etc.) but is also cleverly the mirror's main defense mechanism (confusing the characters themselves, as they witness the flashbacks as children, so that they can't maintain a grip on reality or their location in the house and therefore fight the mirror). It's all pretty hokey and stupid but I credit the filmmakers for actually having ambition and putting in the work to make it succeed (the film was thoroughly planned and storyboarded to maintain continuity between multiple time periods, and the plotting flows surprisingly smoothly). Not great but has a couple good scares.

Bosco B Thug
04-17-2014, 01:40 PM
Effective horror-film-cum-psychology-case-study. A Sinister-like urban legend/true crime/campfire tale retrofit and hodgepodging of thematic inlets, better than Sinister in that it intermittently hits nerves of seriousness regarding topics of trauma, childhood fears, parental abuse, and psychological repression/recursion. Should have maintained to the end its somewhat intelligent, ideological look at psychological rehabilitation and letting go as both healthy and a betrayal of some sort of "truth" of the bloodline (excellently embodied in Karen Gillian's stout, legacy-crazed sister). Instead it decides to explore the simpler tale of childhood actions informing ourselves even in adulthood.

08-14-2014, 01:03 AM
VERY effective. This is the surprise horror film of the year. There's only 1 tiny flaw:

Why did they think they could beat it this time around? They had to understand the mirror would make them believe whatever they wanted to believe.

08-14-2014, 01:20 AM
"Ok, so we figured out the mirror's powers have an effective range of thirty feet. Outside that range, it's powerless. Let's set up all our alarms and equipment five feet away from it."
"Great idea, Sis!"

I nay'd this but I wish I could yay it. The actors are good and the setup is good and the execution is, for the most part, good. The central premise contains a depth you don't usually see in spook stories. I love the conflict between two siblings, traumatized by their past.

But: The movie plays fast and loose with the mirror's powers, which are too conveniently defined ("Plot holes? What plot holes? The mirror could always do that!"). Worse, the ending is horror-movie-stupid. It requires the characters (and the audience) to forget everything they've seen in order for it to work at all.

Goddamit, because that second act-- that middle part where they get to crux of the conflict-- is really great.

08-14-2014, 12:07 PM
Yeh those are all valid points. I really like these new horror movies that actually inflict damage and harm to people and don't just end up with 90 minutes of jump scares (The Woman in Black). There's nothing more frustrating than a ghost/spirit that can't harm you.

09-05-2014, 08:25 AM
This is a very good horror movie that, for all its comparatively minor flaws, should serve as a model for lazy low-budget horror hacks.

10-19-2014, 03:30 PM
So this was legit the freakiest horror movie I've seen in a good long while.

11-30-2014, 03:59 PM
Hey this was pretty good!

Like all the other Blumhouse films I've seen, it's actually about something - a really great change of pace in the horror world.

This time its tale of differing memories of an abusive childhood hit a little closer to home, as my mom and uncle have relatively recently broken their silence in the abuse they endured as children. Similar to the movie, some things they remember identically while others are radically different.

Really enjoyed the two leads, and there were some very effective creep out moments.

The lightbulb!!! Eeeek!!!

Dead & Messed Up
12-11-2014, 06:28 PM
This was effective, yeah. The climactic action was kind of a foregone conclusion, given everything we learn about the mirror, but the time hopping works supremely well. And fine performances. And while the film is sometimes basic stylistically, other times it exhibits some serious grace. Plays in some ways like a corrective to The Conjuring, which worked in a similar classic Gothic mode but didn't have any real psychological edge.

06-27-2015, 09:13 PM
Didn't like how this film is essentially about repetition. It felt like it had earned a different pay-off than the simple "back to the loony bin for you" angle that it chooses to align itself with. And since Gillan is a far better internal performer than the male lead, it's a bit underwhelming that the film abandons her to go with him for the third act climax. Yes, as Irish, several moments are borderline idiotic, but some of the surprises are interesting.

I wanted the film to make everything after Gillan stabs her fiancee a fantasy. That moment made it switch tones for me, as it became more bloody and less character-driven, a crazy complaint for a film so clearly structured around repetition (and thus logical that the film ends where it does). Rather than be unnerving, though, it became a letdown that it chose that out.