Putting my head above the parapet to share some quick reflections on Oculus, director and co-writer Mike Flanagan’s superb horror flick from last year worth looking into.
As the puns suggest, it is about a mirror. A haunted mirror. It is no laughing matter.
Dr Who‘s Karen Gillan and Aussie Brenton Thwaites play Kaylie and Tim, reunited after Tim’s got out of a psych clinic years after a horrific incident of apparent domestic abuse.
The movie cleverly merges that past trauma, with young actors Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan giving wonderful performances, with the present as the nature of the mirror is revealed.
Illusion, obsession and confusion reign. Horror results.
Do not watch this movie if you’re feeling down.
Unlike this year’s similar and, indeed, similarly superb, Aussie effort Babadook, there’s precious little hope or light to be found here — it is perhaps my only quibble, from a thematic basis. But the narrative plays out truthfully and unapologetically.
I loved the quiet, building dread of this movie (enhanced by its subtle score), and the brilliant editing as timelines meet — no cheap, screaming string section; no gotcha! jump cuts.
The relationship between brother and sister is well drawn, their actions and reactions believable and intelligent. And by the end of the movie, boy, did Kirstyn and I hate that mirror.
Battlestar Galactica‘s Katee Sackhoff is also among the cast, but in this instance, it’s a case of no cigar for her character.
It’s great to see some clever, psychologically astute horror films around. Another recent viewing was this year’s Irish movie The Canal; alas, it didn’t hold together as tightly as the two mentioned above, and was soundly let down by its bob-each-way ending. Worth a look, though — there’s a public toilet that Candyman would be proud of.