FILM REVIEW BY MIKEY CLARKE
Showcase Cinemas Peterborough, Out Now
Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff & Rory Cochrane
Running Time: 1hr 40mins
Director: Mike Flanagan
I was a little reluctant about watching a horror film focused around a mirror, because we’ve all seen those movies that feature the clichéd scene where a ghostly figure ‘unexpectedly’ appears in the reflection, and was worried Oculus would be that all-too-familiar scene – extended into an hour and forty minutes.
Thankfully it wasn’t – far from it, in fact – providing a horror that is smarter than your average scarer, writes MIKEY CLARKE.
Writer and Director Mike Flanagan directed a short film in 2006, titled ‘Oculus: The man with the Plan’ – which received rave reviews, and consequently a feature-length version was inevitable.
Here it is. The story focuses on Kaylie Russell (Karen Gillan) and her brother Tim (Brenton Thwaites). Tim has been a resident of a mental hospital for eleven years – basically, ever since the night he witnessed his parents descend into murderous madness, due to the supernatural effects of a household mirror.
Once released, Tim’s sister persuades him to stick to a promise they made years ago – to destroy the mirror that wrecked their family.
Brit star Karen Gillan has come a long way since being Doctor Who’s sidekick and particularly shines throughout this chilling flick. Without her charisma, charm, and believable emotion, the film that is essentially focused around a mirror could have seemed a little ridiculous – and she helps make the premise believable.
What I liked most is that this is a refreshingly smart horror film that doesn’t rely on gimmicky gore and shock values. The movie gets under your skin and not into your stomach. I also liked the fact that it had me thinking about its plot long after the closing credits.
The ending will split the room with some finding it too unconventional, but I liked it.
In fact, that’s why I enjoyed Oculus as a whole . . . it’s a variation on traditional horror themes, but presented in a unique way.
It feels different to anything Hollywood has produced in a while, and for that deserves a lot of praise. Rating.