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Oculus

USA 2013
produced by
Marc D. Evans, Trevor Macy, Jason Blum (executive), Michael Ilitch Jr. (executive), Dale Armin Johnson (executive), Anil Kurian (executive), Michael J. Luisi (executive), D. Scott Lumpkin (executive), Julie B. May (executive), Glenn Murray (executive), Peter Schlessel (executive) for Lasser Productions, Intrepid Pictures, Blumhouse/Relativity Media
directed by Mike Flanagan
starring Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, James Lafferty, Miguel Sandoval, Kate Siegel, Scott Graham, Michael J. Fourticq, Katie Parker, Justin Gordon, Bob Gebert, Brett Luciana Murray, Zak Jeffries, Courtney Bell, Elisa Victoria, Dave Levine, Stephanie Minter, Lesa Johnson, Allison Boyd, James Flanagan, Alexandra Beer, Marc Evans, Toni White
story by Mike Flanagan, Jeff Seidman, screenplay by Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard, music by The Newton Brothers

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When he was ten, Tim (Garrett Ryan) shot his father (Rory Cochrane) to protect his sister Kaylie (Annalise Basso) - something that landed him in a psychiatric institution. It's only when he's 21 (and played by Brenton Thwaites) that he's considered healed and released into the world. The first one to greet him is Kaylie (now played by Karen Gillan), who has always known that he has done nothing wrong but saved her life ... but while he has overcome the trauma of shooting his own parent under psychiatric care, she has remained obsessed with what happened back then - and she blames it all on dad's possessed mirror.

... and it's true, their homelife fell apart when dad bought the mirror. At first he was only getting more and more cranky, and soon he started to get into loud arguments with mum (Katee Sackhoff) ... and then mum was gone, and the kids found her only days later chained up in the bedroom. The dog and plants all over the place died, too, dad lost all interest to take care of his kids (even feed them or fix the failing electricity), it was just the mirror he cared about. And eventually he killed mum and went after the kids with a loaded gun ... only eventually, Tim got hold of the gun and ...

While Tim was locked away in the institution, Kaylie has done her best to get hold of the mirror and now has put it up at their old home for an experiment - and experiment to prove the mirror is indeed evil, and thus she has put up cameras everywhere, has put up a contraption to automatically destroy the mirror should anything happen to her or Tim, and has equipped the place with all sorts of gadgets that would make a paranormal investigator proud. Tim thinks she's out of her mind, but figures he'd play along to help her get over her trauma ... but there's something dead wrong here. Things happen that shouldn't happen, Tim sees things he's not supposed to see (like flashbacks to the past), the cameras show him doing things he can't remember having done, and what he sees isn't always real. And suddenly, he and Kaylie realize that what they have thought to be an exercise in exorcising the (real or imaginary) demons of the past has turned out to be a death trap ...

 

Oculus is an enjoyably creepy movie that doesn't make the mistake to explain away everything (or anything even) but sucks the audience in its bizarre world, in which past and presence co-exist and nothing is supposed to make too much sense - and it works, thanks to a very competent, atmospheric directorial effort, a stringent screenplay and a great ensemble cast (with Annalise Basso as young Kaylie giving a stand-out performance).

Totally recommended!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD