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Reed Alexander's Review of Oculus (2013)

This reflects poor on the studio...

You don't have to read this review. You can watch the Cinema Sins and pretty much get the gist of what I'm about to say.

I got to give the writer and director credit, cerebral horror is a very hard nut to crack and they really did make a stellar effort. They failed it miserably, but the effort was there. Messing with the audience's perceptions is difficult when, you know, they're watching it on a screen and can pretty much already differentiate between reality and the movie.

The easiest way to fail is to show the audience too much. Oculus made that mistake far too often. It wanted to throw in the occasional jump scare to sort of bring the horror to life. That just doesn't work. You can't go for cerebral without leaving the audience guessing. You don't want to confuse them either, but... well you see what I mean? When I say it’s a hard nut to crack, I mean that nut takes a nuclear-powered jackhammer. Too showy, and you're not leaving enough to the audience's imagination. Too little showy, and they won't know what to think or where any of this shit is going.

I don't know. I can't recommend this movie, even if it does have Karen Gillen. I'm so sorry Karen, it's not you or your acting. Your co-star was great too... Really. You just can't polish this turd.

SPOILERS!

What the fuck was this phantasm trying to accomplish? It's a highly inefficient predator. What? Is it like an orca? Does it have to play with its food first? Tenderize it a bit? Iduhfuckenknow...

Like, when it finally possessed the kids’ mother. She slowly goes loony and tries to kill them. Then it possessed their dad, and had him stop her from killing them. Why? Why tell one parent to do one thing and tell the other to do the exact opposite? Why not just have the mother kill both the children and the father? It would have fit its M.O. No one would have suspected an evil mirror if a "jealous house wife" killed her kids and the husband she suspected was cheating on her. Poof, whole family down and on to the next victims. Bad ghost, no doughnut! I mean it could have fucking well taken over any of the family and done just fine a job. If something went wrong, it could just jump to the next person.

But I guess you couldn't have that. The movie basically would have ended right there and this isn't about the kids when they were young. This is about them now all grown up. But that’s another problem. WHY? Why have a movie about when the kids were grown up? The story of the children when they’re young is pretty fucking chilling. Shit, I’d have watched that.

So, then there's this other scene where the mirror convinces Karen's character that she just took a bite out of a light bulb. BUT IT’S ALL JUST IN HER MIND... Why? Why the fuck not just have her take a bite out of a light bulb? I mean, that's some pretty evil shit right there. Why no follow through? There were dozens of cases like that, when the mirror could have done something particularly awful to either main character.

See what I'm saying? If you'd watched the Cinema Sins, you'd already know all of my complaints. Where the fuck was this story line going? When shit got real, when Karen's character killed her husband by accident, there shouldn't have been anymore playing around. Hit that kill switch and BAM! Movie fucking over! Shit, they should have hit the kill switch LONG before that.

This movie was on the right track though. They had all the right ideas, and the right actors, and the right atmosphere. It was all just so poorly executed. There were too many cases where the story had clearly been written into a corner but they had an hour and a half to fill.

Anyway, not worth the watch.

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Reed Alexander's Review of Oculus (2013)
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