Christopher Nolan’s Inception may have seemed complicated with the plot that layered a dream within a dream within a dream, but Mike Flanagan’s Oculus creates just as much complexity with an illusion within a flashback within yet another illusion. I just want to give a disclaimer and say that, while I was lost at some points in the movie, I would actually highly recommend it for fans of the psychological chiller/horror movie genre. It’s a movie that keeps you hooked as you try to distinguish reality from illusion and try to guess what will happen next.
Oculus centers on a young woman named Kaylie Russell and her younger brother, Tim, whose views contrast very well for the sake of the story. After a brutal murder occurs in the Russells’ home during their childhood, leading to the incarceration of Tim for shooting their father and the allegations of their father killing their mother, Kaylie devotes her life to researching the history of the Lasser Glass, a mirror believed to contain a supernatural force that was once in her father’s possession and was in fact responsible for the destruction of their family. When Tim is released from custody, Kaylie wastes no time in pulling him into her plan to steal and destroy the Lasser Glass, but only after she can capture the paranormal activity from the mirror on camera to clear her family’s name.
Kaylie has dug up plenty of reports connected to the Lasser Glass and is certain of its power. Tim, however, after about a decade of psychological therapy, is convinced that his own experiences from the horrors of the past were just fabrications of his mind and that his sister is the one who is now delusional. Once the cameras start rolling though and the siblings are trapped in a house with the cursed mirror, they become aware that no one can escape the influence of the force within it.
Oculus does a great job in its presentation of textbook psychology, characterization, and distorted points of views. And as I mentioned earlier, it keeps you drawn in with the constant twists that the illusions create in the story, so depending on your expectations for the final scene, it may fall flat in the end for some viewers, but it’s just a matter of your perception. Go check Oculus out on Redbox, Netflix or whatever your preference if you didn’t see it in theaters or at home before this review or if you can’t watch it enough times to separate the reality from the illusions.