In Oculus, a Swirl of Nightmarish Confusion and Superb Performances

In <I>Oculus</I>, a Swirl of Nightmarish Confusion and Superb Performances
Photo by John Estes - © 2013 Lasser Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites.

A cleverly executed mind game that generates scares via structural ingenuity, Oculus suggests a world coming terrifyingly unmoored from its bearings.

Set in two separate time periods, director Mike Flanagan's debut boasts sumptuously sweeping, rotating camerawork and a knotty script. It concerns the attempt by Kaylie and younger brother Tim (Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites as adults; Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan as kids) to return to their old home and destroy an ancient mirror that, Kaylie claims, houses a supernatural spirit who was responsible for the deaths of their parents (Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff) 11 years earlier.

Having been rehabilitated in a mental hospital to forget what really happened, the brainwashed Tim is skeptical of Kaylie's theory, and the possibility that Kaylie is delusional is stoked throughout by Flanagan's segueing between the past and present, hallucinations and reality.

Critics' Pick Critics' Pick


Directed by Mike Flanagan
Relativity Media
Opens April 11

Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast

As this flip-flopping becomes more pronounced, Oculus becomes a swirl of nightmarish confusion in which the unreliability of perception leads characters into danger — and keeps the action's suspense potent.

Replete with superb performances led by a paranoid Sackhoff and unhinged Cochrane, it's the rare horror film to know how to tease malevolent mysteries and deliver satisfyingly unexpected, unsettling payoffs.

My Voice Nation Help

This review is just perfect wtf you give it 9/10 that's amazing!


Now Showing

Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

Box Office Report

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!

Movie Trailers