Oculus – Looks can be deceiving
Oculus – Movie Plot and Review
At first glance, Oculus looks like an original tense thriller/horror; it is for the most part, but it unfortunately dabbles in uninspired horror clichés which cheapen the whole film.
The premise of Oculus in intriguing, it revolves around a mirror that two children/adults want to prove is ‘haunted’. The mirror possess people by deceiving others. Essentially every stare into the mirror is deceiving, which causes the fine line between reality and fiction to become blurred. The film gets points for an original premise, although ‘Mirrors’ followed a similar premise, but the execution of the premise is clouded by dull, uninspired ‘horror’. To call this film a ‘horror’ is deceptive in itself, as it feels like a thriller injected with scares; but no where near enough to be defined purely as a horror. Poignantly, this film is creepy (not scary). Reasons for the lack of scares are varied. The crux of the issue is that this film may seem original but all the scary scenes are clichéd; there’s jump scares, dying plants, flashbacks and possession. What’s most frustrating is the fact that the film’s first half was genuinely scary, after that it spirals down into a ‘gorefest’ which isn’t scary, only unpleasant to watch. It seems that the horror industry has run dry of legitimate scares, so much so that film-makers rely on excessive blood and gore to warrant their film ‘scary’. But blood doesn’t make a film scary, genuine suspense and intrigue is scary and that’s what Oculus did so well in it’s first half.
Oculus did do one thing correctly, it had likeable protagonists who were well acted. Karen Gillian in particularly was very impressive as her accent was flawless, proving she proves she can act (seriously) and isn’t just another Dr.Who companion. The protagonists are well executed due to the dual timelines – this gives a rich sense of character development and adds to the suspense of the first half. Once again the second half made the intrigue surrounding the characters redundant, as the audience are spoon-fed information as opposed to someone attempting to figure out the mystery.
Overall, Oculus had potential with good actors and a promising plot. For the most part this film succeeds in what it wants to do, the first half successfully creates tension, resulting in legitimate scares. But the second half is bogged down with uninspired, generic horror clichés – which renders the film uncomfortable as opposed to scary. As it is, Oculus looked to be a stellar psychological thriller, I was left underwhelmed as it came across as another mediocre horror film which fails to scare due to its sole reliance on gore.