Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Oculus

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72% (Critics) / 54% (Audience)
Directed By: Mike Flanagan
Written By: Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff and Rory Cochrane
Studio: Relativity Media

Synopsis: A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon. – (Source)


The Good:
Karen Gillan was very good in this as the wound extremely tight and slightly mental adult version of Kaylie Russell. She did a great job displaying the desperation and fear that Kaylie had in trying to convince her brother to believe the unbelievable story of their parent’s deaths. The period of time the film spent making it seem like Kaylie was possibly just a lunatic and all of the crazy supernatural stuff was a delusion were pretty cool and a lot of that was because of Gillan’s performance. She also did a pretty spiffy American accent.
Katee Sackhoff was also really good as a mother becoming unhinged.
I also liked the filming trick that the director used of jumping from the present to the past. it was done in a way that convincingly disoriented the audience so that we would get a taste of the confusion the characters were going through due to the influence of the evil mirror.

The Bad:
I felt that there were two really good movies that could have been made from this material and instead the filmmakers went with a third option that was not nearly as entertaining. A film about the brother and sister as children dealing with the disintegration of their family from a malevolent force would have been really good. Even better would have been a film that kept it murky whether adult Kaylie was actually batshit crazy or not right up till the final scene of the movie.

The Ugly
It is a shame that Gillan was stuck spending most of her scenes acting opposite and evil mirror and what looked like a hair model. And the mirror had more chemistry with her.

Final Verdict: There were a couple different avenues that OCULUS could have gone down that would have likely created a great horror film but sadly the movie chose to go down the more predictable road resulting in a movie that was just OK instead of being memorable.

Grade: C+

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