Years after the mysterious deaths of their parents, a traumatized brother and sister find the cause of their family tragedy: a cursed mirror whose 300-year history has left a bloody trail of destruction in its wake.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
Refreshingly light on jump scares, Oculus instead uses really nice editing to join related stories in different time periods and evoke a more psychological than physical dread. It reminded me of puzzle films or "mind-benders" like Triangle and Coherence. It's strange, though, that imagery and motifs specific to the mirror aren't played up more; for most of the film, the possessed object could have been anything.
Despite an unpromising, queerly antiseptic set-up, Oculus gradually builds up a pretty good head of pathos. The scenes of baleful, bruising psychedelia, increasing in frequency as the film goes on, carry potent emotional weight even as they deliver sharp jolts of vertigo.
Too predictable to produce any real scare. The first half of Sinister was better executed. The real horror of American cinema lies in its tragic inability to transcend the lame ghost story genre and introduce something new. This pedestrian pastiche of The Amytiville Horror, Mirrors and The Shining is underwhleming and soporific.
There are some niggling issues here and some poor acting choices there, but Oculus is such a grim and bizarre mind-bender that it's truly hard to resist. It still astonishes me that something this strange got a wide release.
Despite the hype, I expected another typical ghost story in line with the recent trend of "throwback" horror. While the premise isn't all that original, it's presented in an extremely intelligent way that constantly and seamlessly shifts between past, present, real, and hallucination, and keeps you hooked from the time things start getting really crazy. It exceeded my expectations from start to finish.