Monday, 4 July 2016

Oculus (2013)

"It was the mirror..."

This could have been a very good horror film. The central idea is sound, indeed very good, if a little derivative, and the performances (though Karen Gillen's accent slips) are generally good. This isn't, however, much of a start for Gillan's post-Doctor Who film career.

The concept- a mysterious mirror of a MacGuffin manipulates reality around it to cause murder, violence and gore and is resistant to scientific inquiry- is strong, and making the protagonists two siblings trying to make sense of their parents' deaths ten years previously increases the drama. The use of two parallel narratives, the present and the past, works well. The ending is particularly clever and horrific, with Tim being arrested for a murder he didn't commit in both time zones, and I love the philosophical implication that reality itself is subjective.

However, the realisation of this is hampered by the direction. Oh, it looks professional in its way, but it's over-glossy and suffers from that modern curse of MTV-derived directorial styles that simply don't work on a horror film. One is left to wonder just what a previous generation would have made of this script.

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