Sunday, October 12, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Day 12 - Movie 2

In Oculus (2013), a brother and sister (Brenton Thwaites, Karen Gillan) decide to document and destroy a mirror that they believe is responsible for destroying their family eleven years earlier.

Well made, ambitious, and clearly attempting to move away from the derivative nature of most of today's current horror movies, Oculus gets pretty far, but doesn't quite succeed in getting where it wants to. Jumping back and forth through time between the present and eleven years earlier, it seems like bits of consistent logic fall through the cracks, and hamper a true build up of suspense. In the sequences set in the past, Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan excel as the child versions of the siblings, conveying all of the fears and emotional distress of two children watching their parents change into violent strangers, while being helpless to save them, and perhaps themselves. Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff, as the parents aren't given enough to do besides slowly grow more and more vacant and hostile, making it difficult to feel anything for their plight. Thwaites and Gillan are fine as the adult siblings, one clearly wanting to move on with their life and be no part of this, while the other is consumed with an obsession with revenge. The minimalist music by the Newton Brothers places an enormous part in creating the unsettling atmosphere of Oculus, probably more so than any other component of the movie.

While not quite a fully satisfying experience, I give it extra points for trying to become something more than it wound up being.

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