-Contributed by Luke Merrill
This week we stared into the abysmal unending corridors of reflected horror with the haunted mirror story to take on all haunted mirror stories: Oculus. Known for the classic take-double take scares that mirrors have provided in horror cinema over the past 4, maybe 5 decades that mirrors have been in movies, I was somewhat skeptical of the scares that Oculus would provide. Although there are quite a few of those present in this film I was pleasantly surprised by how the rules of this particular haunted mirror were laid out and felt the movie did a good job balancing scares with reality. One pleasing feature was that the mirror cursed, possessed or otherwise, could not physically hurt you in any way, shape or form. The quirky thing about this mirror was that it has a funny way of distorting the affected persons vision and thoughts eventually driving them crazy. Although you may see or hear some bizarre things the reality may be that it is not actually there.
|The real Oculus which will steal Men's Souls as they immerse themselves into the MMORPG's of the future|
The premise of the film is interesting enough. Two young children grow up in a house that goes all amityville horror story on them. Their parents are killed in a bizarre fashion and the youngest son gets locked away at the tender age of ten and undergoes extensive therapy and treatment until his 21st birthday when he is released and deemed mentally competent to realize the circumstance of his families past are not the fault of some screwy ghost mirror. He gets out just in time to meet up with his older sister, who just so happens had been obsessed with tracking the ghost mirror down and has decided it would be best if the two of them return it to their old family home and exonerate their family name. One, because the mirror must be stopped but mostly because she’s tired of having to live with the stigma of being born into a family of psychopaths for her teenage years. It was worse than wearing braces.
This provides one of the films interesting juxtapositions. The sister is intent on helping her brother remember the truth. The brother is desperately fighting for his newly acquired sanity and is afraid he will fall into relapse. When things start to get weird the audience can be convinced that this must be the work of Satan’s looking glass, but could it be possible that the trauma of the past events had truly driven them crazy? Well the audience has to decide that.
|Cameras can be deceptive too. I wouldn't lie to you, Dave.|
The movie does a wonderful job explaining how certain haunting events are occurring, and the use of cameras and technology help to clarify what is real and what isn’t, but by the end of the movie nothing is really certain. If you were to hallucinate and start seeing things that weren’t there isn’t it conceivable that looking into a digital camera that seems to give the all clear could also be part of the hallucination? I don’t know and you won’t either, but Oculus is one entertaining ride.
Another feature to note that I thought would bomb out, but was well played, was the telling of the two stories simultaneously. I had mentioned earlier that this Brother/Sister combo had traumatic experiences when they were young, but this is not completely revealed to us in its entirety. While they seek the answers of their youth as adults, the movie will seamlessly cut to a flashback of their younger years. Normally this back and forth flashback business plays off as a little bit of moviemaker misdirection to get cheap thrills, but it doesn’t feel forced in Oculus. At one point the two stories nearly merge into one giving a wonderful sense of finality to the movie, which I enjoyed.
|Fractured Mirror Monsters are not to be trifled with|
The whole movie in my opinion is an allegory on the perils of drug usage, and reminds people why they should never take ten hits of LSD and stare into a mirror for too long. You need to be a lvl18 wizard before you can attempt that, and Oculus is here to remind a new generation of this. Check it out, but for the love of God, do not watch the movie while it is being reflected into a mirror, not even your iphone can save your soul then.