Horror is a genre directed at young people. The genre is successful because it excites, scares and thrills its audience. It’s a genre that has a target audience which is oddly teenage girls – they love to be scared. Boys take their girlfriends to horror movies so they can appear strong and protective – and most importantly put their arms around them during the scary bits. That’s one of the reasons that Blumhouse Productions has become a modern horror success story. It makes low budget, no-frills horrors which are female friendly (scary but not too gory) that go on to scare the crap out of their audiences and make a tidy packet at the box office in the process. Oculus is one of those films.
Oculus is about a haunted mirror. That’s the crux of this Mike Flanagan directed film which sees Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites (and his eyebrows) battle the mirror that they believe is responsible for the deaths of their parents. If that sounds stupid to you then look elsewhere for your entertainment. If you’re thinking ‘cool, a haunted mirror movie” then roll right-up and jump into Oculus. Flanagan has delivered an effective shocker that hits all the right horror marks. It’s not a genre classic, but it works as a decent piece of atmospheric entertainment.
This supernatural horror may have a low budget, but it looks slick. Flanagan and cinematograoher Michael Fimognari have crafted a film that has the sheen of an A-list production but the heart of a B-movie. Laced with jump-scares and a few unsettling moments, Oculus is a horror movie for fans who don’t like their scares too extreme. There’s a little bit of blood and a few deaths on the right side of grisly that shouldn’t give its target audience too many nightmares. This is another step forward for Flanagan who is carving out an impressive career in the genre following his last film Absentia.
Oculus isn’t an earth-shattering film which will change the horror genre forever but it’s a decent shocker that does exactly what you hope it will.
The blu-ray comes with a few deleted scenes and Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan, Mike Flanagan’s short that became the impetus for Oculus – a nice touch.