I'm a big fan of horror films. Whether they're immensely good or just plain awful, I can usually have fun watching a given horror flick. I first heard of 'Oculus' watching Monday Night Raw one night, this is a WWE Studios film. I was intrigued, because it didn't look that awful. The story looked pretty original and it didn't look like it was going to be that bad. The problem is, this is made by the people who did 'Paranormal Activity,' so that means that this movie didn't really kick in until the final act, but by then it was too late.
'Oculus' follows the story of Kaylie and Tim Russell (Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan). As children their family moved into a new house and their father, Allen (Rory Cochrane), bought an antique mirror. Strange things begin happening to Kaylie and Tim's parents not long after the move. Their father starts to isolate himself in his office, while their mother, Marie (Katie Sackhoff), starts to become withdrawn and paranoid. Eventually, they deteriorate to the point where both parents attack the children. After struggles with Allen and Marie, they are killed. The police take Tim, under the assumption that he killed his parents. The kids promise to reunite one day to destroy the mirror. Eleven years later Tim (Brenton Thwaites) is released from the psychopathic hospital he was in and picked up by Kaylie (Karen Gillan). The promise between the two is kept as Kaylie has acquired the mirror, under the assumption that it was the thing that caused the family tragedy. The two begin to trek down memory lane in the hopes of finally finding out what really happened to them as children.
The biggest problem with this film is that nothing happens for the first hour. The acting doesn't mesh too well throughout the film. At times the mannerisms of Kaylie, played by Karen Gillan, are erratic and often over the top and unnecessary. This could be due to the direction or it could just be the sign of a bad acting job. You don't really get too much insight in Tim either, so it's hard to see him as anything other than a crazy person, who could turn out to not be crazy. They are the only two you remotely need to know about, so you can already tell the character building for the rest of the cast is top notch. (This is sarcasm. I feel I need to put this here.) The scenes are also kinda wonky to me. The flashbacks and flash-forwards between the story-lines are often badly done. I feel like they did too much jumping for almost no reason. The last act of the movie showcases the idea of blending the two story-lines together well, but by that point I hardly cared and just wanted the film to end. The story, overall, is pretty alright too. I didn't mind the idea of setting a supernatural story in two separate times and then melding it all together into one. The problem is that by the time all the action started happening I was bored. This film isn't long, so this all on the writing and acting. I started to just stop caring about what was happening. Not to mention, a mind control mirror isn't all that scary to begin with. The freaky mind tricks were cool at first and there were a few creepy spots. They then start to recycle ideas, the acting gets more tiresome and the story just kinda plays out. The music is fine too, but it also starts to get repetitive and annoying. Especially one particular track that sounds like a watered down version of the 'Inception' noise. You all know the noise, you all do.
I really wanted to like this. There were times, especially the last thirty minutes or so, it hit its stride and salvaged this film from being a complete bore to me. Unfortunately, the first part of this film is almost unbearable. The acting is a chore to watch at times and the time jumps aren't done very well. 'Oculus' is is a film that had the right idea and intriguing story, but implemented almost everything else the wrong way. You can add annoying music and lack of synergy, to the list of hings that doomed this film from get go. If you can get into this more power to you, but 'Oculus' is a film that I never want to see again.