With my vast knowledge (that I’ve gained from watching countless horror films) I have gathered that demons/ghosts like to possess houses, people, and in some odd cases, recorded footage. The reasons aren’t always clear to us, but all we’re really worried about is the outcome. Oculus gives us yet another thing to fear, a mirror, and not so much for the evil in it but the evil it reveals in us.
Kaylie (Karen Gillan) is making preparations, setting up surveillance in her childhood home where both her parents were killed. The special occasion? Taking care of unfinished business now that her brother, Tim (Brenton Thwaites) has been release from the mental hospital after shooting his father, Alan (Rory Cochrane), when he was a child. Ten years ago, they were a typical, content family moving into a new house. Marie (Katee Sackhoff), the mother, and Alan were a loving couple until Alan bought a new mirror for his home office. Less than a week later, he stayed becoming distant, cryptic and aggressive.
Marie is becoming paranoid and abrasive and she know that her husbands change in behavior and her own have something to do with the mirror, after a failed attempt at destroying it, and almost killing her daughter, Alan locks Marie up like an animal. After a now feral Marie escapes, Alan shoots her to death and then goes after the kids. Tim gets the gone from his father, who he is then forced to shoot and kill. Before the police come and separate the siblings, they promise to come back and kill the evil that had cost them the lives of their parents, and now that Kaylie has re-acquired the mirror, they can complete their promise.
This movie succeeds as a hybrid between a supernatural horror film and a thriller. There are a few good scares throughout the entire film, but like the evil entity in the mirror, it likes to play mind games. The thrill is all in the chase, especially when the power dynamic switches and the mirror is in control again. The great thing about the horror films that come from Blumhouse Productions is that each of them do a great job at telling a story, something that more recent, gore-centric horror films seem to leave out or under-develop. Being a big Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica fan, I am happy to see Karen Gillan and Katee Sackhoff in this film, even though the acting in the entire film is only good, not great. It was hard to tell whether Gillan was going for an American accent since her very strong Scottish accent kept making appearances in the film, but honestly I didn’t mind. Especially since we’ll be reunited with her again very soon in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Although this isn’t one of Blumhouse’s top films, it boasts a solid story with some great visuals. The editing and the way this film was shot and then assembled adds to the mental terror the mirror is supposed to create. We get to view what originally happened to the kids through interwoven shots of the past and present (and how they are paralleled), and how they are seemingly facing the same demons over again. It’s less about new scares and more about the mirror physically bringing out their past, unfaced fears for them to relive. That way they are left to feel helpless like the children they were when the initially faced this monster. Throughout the movie, they outwardly appear like their younger selves to reflect how they feel inside. The only thing that felt shallow about the entire film was the unsatisfying ending, leaving more than a large opening many a potential sequel in the near future.
RATING: ★★★★★★★(7/10 stars)
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