Oculus is an effective piece of psychological horror, an unpredictably terrifying look at a mirror that has tormented families for centuries. The movie centers on a brother and sister, played by Brenton Thwaites and Karen Gillian respectively, who are both attempting to put their past behind them. The former has recently been released from a mental institution after murdering his father, who went on a murderous rampage, killing their mother and then attempting to kill the children. The sister’s convinced that the mirror that their father had led to his craziness, and she works with her brother to destroy (and outsmart) the mirror. The film has elements of The Shining (within its psychological breakdown of a family at the hands of a father) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (with an unsettling mixture of reality and fantasy along with a protagonist that thinks they can outsmart the presence), even if it borrows a bit too much from both. But the film’s engaging due to its set-up because it allows for an unpredictable, almost nonsensical nature. Oculus is made for atmospheric horror viewing, with not a lot of sense involved but a whole lot of dread and hopelessness.
Grade: ★★★★ (out of 5)