BULLSEYE OR MISFIRE: Oculus Reviews
By Dr. Know on April 12th, 2014
For a horror movie, Oculus is surprisingly lean on the scares. It’s more interested in playing tricks with perception and bending reality.
“Oculus” is haunting because it messes with your head. That’s where the ghosts are.
What makes Oculus ingenious is how Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard take this hackneyed storyline and twist it – round ‘n’ round – ad infinitum into a dizzying corkscrew of a narrative.
The elegant use of wide screen can’t totally obscure stiff acting, and the rug pulling finally seems arbitrary. When nothing can be trusted, the mirage of suspense disappears.
In that respect, Oculus makes cinematic history: the first known use of Chekhov’s yacht anchor.
While not as frightening or overall effective as Insidious, The Conjuring or Sinister, Oculus is still a fun ride for fans of horror films.
The unique stylistic approach to haunted house horror will be a novelty to fans of the genre – just don’t be disappointed when it all ends with a fizzle instead of a bang.
Oculus’ real weapon is its flashbacks, which aren’t specifically used as flashbacks but rather as illusions and nightmares forced upon the characters by the mirror’s evil.
This supernatural spellbinder succeeds at disorienting the viewer with a cleverly structured screenplay, but it never quite manages to frighten despite some solid tension and eerie imagery.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who the dumbest mirror movie of all? Should have remained a short.
Oculus is a pleasingly creepy low-budget horror flick that plays with some interesting ideas, offers a fresh and unique structure, and understands that some questions are best left unanswered.
There’s plenty to rattle you in Oculus, a supernatural thriller that doesn’t make 100 per cent sense, exactly, but leaves you deeply disturbed.
Are you willing to put up with an otherwise excellent frightfest even if it limps to that finish line after sprinting for an hour-plus?
It deserves credit for seamlessly blending timelines and perspectives, but its mind games just fail to deliver proper scares. Oculus aimed to be the next Insidious, but it is actually nothing more than a reflective mess.
Flanagan sets the rules for this supernatural setting only to break them, turning what could have been terrifying into something merely annoying.
It’s a ghost story, and remains true to its roots with an eerie ending, but after such an intense, determined introduction, the way the feature just trails off instead of storms off feels disappointingly anticlimactic.
The strongest horror movie since Cabin in the Woods and a testament to what this genre can do in the hands of a real expert.
Oculus is frighteningly good and light years better than most of the crap passed off as horror these days.
The power of Oculus lies in its female leads – three generations of red-headed ladies who each bring fiery passion to this slow-burning, demonic-possession story.