Movie Review: Oculus (2014)

 Oculus (2014) movie posterA cleverly written, and truly unsettling horror

Star Ratings

Oh my god, I finally found a scary movie that actually scares me. That hasn’t happened since I saw the first and only good Paranormal Activity movie.

Oculus starts with a great back story. 10 years before, tragedy struck the Russel family, when Tim Russel (Garrett Ryan) was committed following the brutal murder of his parents. He has recently been released, and now just wants to move on with his life. His sister Kaylie (Annalisse Basso) isn’t so laid back. She is still haunted by visions that she had the night her parents died and she doesn’t believe everything is quite as it seems. Instead, she blames their deaths on the Lasser Glass, a mirror which was in their childhood home. Kaylie tracks down the mirror, determined to prove her brother’s innocence. The problem is, everyone who owns that mirror seems to come to an untimely, and usually mysterious death.

“An evil mirror?” You might be thinking. “How scary can that be?”

My answer is, it will make you fear your mirrors. Seriously, I went home and put sheets over ever single one of mine. I haven’t been able to put on makeup or fix my hair for a week, because I am utterly convinced that a evil supernatural being will use my mirror as a portal while I’m smearing on my lip gloss.


What makes Oculus unique is that it doesn’t scare through cheap jump scares or gore and blood. It scares through pure dread and some serious mind screwing. It’s impossible to tell if the mirror is evil, or if Kaylie is crazy and the plot unfolds like a corkscrew.

Basso plays the unreliable narrator Kaylie well. She seems genuinely convinced, but at the same time, also a little bit nuts. As the background unravels in flashbacks, you will change your mind about 40 times as to what she really is.

This is an unsettling horror movie, cleverly timed in order to gain the maximum effect from the plot. The director toys with giving you the details, and then takes them back, so you will be left guessing.

This was a cleverly written, and truly unsettling horror, which is difficult to find in the age of Paranormal rip-offs and found footage garbage. Instead of focusing on scary makeup and ridiculous special effects, Oculus goes back to the good old days of writing a movie that actually had a good, multilayered plot.




It’s really hard to pull off an unreliable narrator movie. In many cases, those who try to do it wind up giving away too much, or just being incredibly confusing (i.e. American Psycho). I haven’t seen a movie mislead an audience so well since I saw eXistenZ. Coming from me, that is incredibly high praise

I will say the ending was a bit of a disappointment, but this isn’t really the kind of movie that will leave you feeling satisfied, with all the lose ends tied up in a neat little bow. There’s no scene where the bad guy comes out, admits all his crimes and then explains why he did it. The movie is designed to leave you feeling unsettled, and the ending will do just that.

And then, just like me, you’ll go home and cover up all your mirrors…just in case.  Watch the official trailer below.

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