“Oculus” Is A Decent Thriller, But Seemingly Fails The Logic Test
I enjoyed Mike Flanagan‘s “Oculus,” a slow-burn thriller about a haunted mirror, and the lives it has destroyed because I sometimes like a movie in which stakes are a little more personal, as opposed with threatening the world with annihilation, or anything along those lines. That being said, I had a minor quibble that had nothing to do with the evil looking glass, but the people who were supposedly trying to stop it.
Kaylie Russell (Karen Gillan) as a young girl watched helplessly as a mirror, known as the Lesner Glass (for awhile it sounded like everyone was saying ‘Lesser Glass’) caused her father and mother to go insane. She was saved by her brother, Tim (Brenton Thwaites) who shot and killed their father to save her.
Unfortunately for Tim, as far as the police could tell, Tim went nuts and murdered his father so he was committed to an institution for juvenile offenders.
In fact, when we first meet Tim he’s with his shrink (the ever-reliable Miguel Sandoval) who deems that he’s faced his demons, pardon the pun, and is ready to be released. His sister, Kaylie, works at an auction house that’s also selling the Lesner Glass, the very same mirror that killed her family and she has been seeking for years.
Someone wins it via Skype, though she intends to borrow it for awhile before it’s sent to the winning bidder.
Before her brother was institutionalized, they made a pact to destroy the mirror if the opportunity ever arose, and now is as good a time as any. Her intent is to somehow destroy the force that occupies it (and as a last resort she would shatter it, despite the fact that she doesn’t own it and would likely be jailed if it were made known) though it should go without saying that nothing goes as planned.
What I particularly like was how adroitly Mike Flanagan, who wrote as well as directed, was able to move backward and forward in time almost seamlessly. One moment you’re watching Kaylie and Tim in the present day, then suddenly you’re watching them as children, first-hand witnesses to the presence of an unspeakable evil.
Here’s where we come to what I mentioned earlier, namely what bothered me about the movie. Kaylie had very carefully planned for the time that she would again have to face the mirror. She not only researched who had created it, but also whom had been killed by its unrelenting evil as well. She also developed a system that she thought would enable her to defeat the mirror, but seemed to miss one important detail: It was a mirror, which means that you have–I assume–to look into it to be effected by it.
She also knew that the mirror never did its own dirty work, that it instead compelled whomever owned it into destroying themselves. This makes me wonder why she didn’t consider hiring a blind person, or persons, to try to destroy the mirror. Based upon the movie, it appears that they wouldn’t be harmed, though if there were a sighted person with them, they could be a problem.
It wasn’t enough to make me enjoy the movie less, though it was mildly irritating.