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Nothing is what it seems in new scarer Oculus, a film that has itself has been quite deceptive in its marketing.
More of a psychological thriller than a horror, it does a great job of messing with your mind rather than making you jump.
Considering its basic concept is an evil and possessed mirror that can manipulate what you do and see, the plot is handled with a bit of intelligence, for the most part.
The first hour successfully manages to build the foundations of a good story, cutting back and forth between two different times really well. The dialogue is quite clever in places, especially the back and forth between the two older siblings, and I felt engaged with what was going on. I felt a genuine investment in the characters too, which is more than can be said for other films of this genre.
However, for all the of the good that it builds up during the first hour, the film falls apart in its third act and falls into the same trap as all other horror films before it. The final half hour; consisting of the same type of glowing eyed demons/ghosts that we’ve seen in at least five films in the last year, really lets the film down.
Did it scare me? Yes, but I could easily have done without the recurrent imagery of other horror films in favour of a more original, more thought-provoking ending.
Obviously the film makers needed to leave the story open for a sequel, so instead, once again, we’re left with no real definitive conclusion. We’ll have to wait until Oculus 6 to get some kind of ending.
On a whole, Oculus is far from a disaster, but frustratingly close to something really original and different. It’s the film’s bog-standard ending, along with some bad acting (a wooden Karen Gillan being out-performed by a child actress that plays her younger self) that really let the film down.
Oculus is still worth checking out though, but if you miss it the cinema I wouldn’t be too worried. It’s a bit mind boggling at times but entertaining nevertheless.