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“Oculus” to exceed viewers’ fear expectations

According to urban legend, mirrors have the ability to see into other dimensions and hold onto energy.  I’m not too sure how true that is, but one thing is for sure—in the dark, mirrors can play tricks on you and they’re kind of freaky.

“Oculus” takes the whole freaky mirror thing to another level, but in a totally unexpected way.

After reading mixed reviews about this film, I was hesitant to see it. I’m a huge snob when it comes to horror films, and I will read up on them and determine if it meets my standards.

The first thing I thought while reading up on this was, “Oh great, another movie that’s about a haunted mirror.” It also didn’t help that one of the producers for the film is part of the World Wrestling Entertainment, which automatically made me think of 13-year-old boys and college fraternities.

Putting my biases aside, I decided to give the film a shot and I was not disappointed. I find that movie crowds these days tend to watch horror films to have a good scare, but nothing is really scary anymore. I’m tired of seeing bad computer-generated imagery effects and watching predictable and boring horror films one after another.

“Oculus,” on the other hand, actually had a few plot twists that I didn’t expect, a bit outside of the horror film cliché and a good balance of CGI effects mixed with real effects shot on camera.

“Oculus” tells the story of a brother and sister, Kaylie and Tim, who are dealing with an evil force since they were children. An antique mirror that was purchased by their father initiates the haunting plot, alongside the sinister events that follow. Ruining Kaylie and Tim’s lives, the continuous haunting of the mirror affects Tim the most, and he is placed in a mental institution, and Kaylie is placed in foster care. When Tim is released from the hospital on his 21st birthday, Kaylie is determined to find the mirror and destroy it. She obtains the mirror at an auction and takes it to the home where Kaylie and Tim experienced the phenomena. This unravels a series of strange events that happen thereafter.

The conception of what is reality and what is imagination is a fine line in “Oculus.” The mirror plays tricks on the siblings, and they find themselves struggling to determine what is real or not.

At times, the film can be very confusing, it’s one of those back-and-forth movie plots that involves flashbacks. So make sure to take care of whatever you need to do before the movie starts, because if you leave to the restroom or to get popcorn, you’ll be completely lost once you get back.

The film starts off relatively slow, actually, really slow and kind of boring. However, once the ball gets rolling, things start falling into place.

An interesting fact about the film is that it was released in 2013, however, it recently opened for American audiences. It received second place at the Toronto Film Festival, and was based off of a short film directed by Mike Flanagan in 2006.

What I liked about “Oculus” is that it wasn’t just a generic approach to the whole “there’s a ghost in the mirror” story that has been redone over and over again. It plays with your mind and you find yourself just as confused as Kaylie and Tim—you feel as though you are right there with them. Although the film is a horror movie, I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily scary, but it is more of a smart approach to horror for a modern audience.

Lesly Limon may be reached at [email protected].

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“Oculus” to exceed viewers’ fear expectations