FILM REVIEW: OCULUS (15)

Smarter than the average scare.

I was a little reluctant about watching a horror film focused around a mirror. We’ve all seen those movies that feature the cliché scene where a ghostly figure ‘unexpectedly’ appears in the reflection. I 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.


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Writer and Director Mike Flanagan directed a short film in 2006, titled ‘Oculus: The man with the Plan’. It 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 11 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 is greeted by his sister, who persuades him to stick to a promise they made years ago; to destroy the mirror that destroyed their family.

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. She helps make the premise believable.


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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.

See Oculus and much more now. Visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for the latest up-to-date showtimes for Peterborough Showcase. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase CinemasUK’.

Mikey Clarke

Genre: Horror

Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane & a mirror

Running Time: 103mins

Writer/Director: Mike Flanagan

See it if you liked: Paranormal Activity & Sinister [youtube id=”dYJrxezWLUk” width=”600″ height=”350″]