‘Oculus’: Terror Through the Looking Glass

Oculus is horror on the cheap. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Some of the best horror is done on the cheap and while I wouldn’t call Oculus the best of anything, it is serviceable and decent, something that I’m not sure it would have been had it been granted a bigger budget.

This fast and furious pic about a haunted mirror and the quest to kill it is a decent little chiller. You won’t find excessive gore or lame CGI, but rather and tried and true methods of suspense, dark corridors, and freaky demons. A parallel narrative, part of Oculus chronicles the disintegration of a family at the hands… uh… of the mirror and the other takes place years later as the grown up children of the family try and prove that the mirror is haunted and attempt to destroy it.

Both of the stories are well told and nicely balanced. The acting from some (looking at you, Pond) could have been stronger, but the atmosphere and general spookiness – not to mention the performances in the family segments – make up for it.

As I said, this isn’t a particularly strong movie – nothing on the level of The Conjuring, but it is more that decent for what is provided. Elements of the story are disturbing and some of the visual are chilling, even if it does come up short in other regards.

For one thing, it seems to meander a little too much and loses its focus. This is a minor quibble as it always puts the finish lines back in its sights.

While it does have some problems, Oculus is a lean and mean ghost story. Nothing is really over explained, nothing insults our intelligence, and the scares that Oculus manages to create are effective. It’s nothing special, but it is above the average of the usual horror movie junk.

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