Oculus: Chapter 3 - The Man with the Plan
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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Excellent short film

9/10
Author: James Cheevers from Narbonneau (79), France
4 May 2006

Saw this at the Dead by Dawn film festival in Edinburgh and it was the best short film screened there this year in my opinion.

Essentially this is a one man show with Scott Graham alone with an evil mirror for much of the running time. While this doesn't sound particularly exciting, this growing feeling of paranoia and the increasing madness of the lone character propel the story.

Keep an eye on the video monitors that have been set up for the experiment, it's a small but very creepy touch.

Oculus is part 3 of a 9 part story. If Mike Flanagan can keep up this level of invention then I look forward to further entries.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding short film!

10/10
Author: zablalbaz from United States
10 October 2006

My wife and I were lucky enough to happen upon a showing of this film at the Dragoncon film festival recently. I have been a huge fan of horror films and fiction since I was a young kid, and so did not expect to be remotely frightened by anything in the horror portion of the festival. I was almost right.

Mike Flanagan's outstanding film scared me more than anything that Hollywood has offered in many years. At the end of the 32 minutes that it ran, the audience let out an audible gasp because so many of us were holding out breaths. Any fright film fan will be thrilled to see that there are still truly gifted film makers out there who can scare the Hell out of you.

If you get a chance, see it. And when it becomes available on an anthology, buy it. You won't be disappointed.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

What a great movie.

10/10
Author: hypnotiq0066 from United States
8 September 2006

I saw this movie at the Dragon*Con 2006 Independent Film Festival. It was awarded 2 awards at that festival and rightfully so. This is probably the best short horror film I've ever seen. The simplicity of camera usage really works.The main character is brilliant. His acting is quite good and is believable. The 3 cameras in the room with Tim Russel make his insanity that much more believable. I love it. I have talked with Mike and he says that they are in the process of making a feature film compassing the first three chapters together. I can't wait. I will be first in line for that film. The effects of the "mirror" creatures are used so well. You don't see them for very long so it scares the pants off of you when you do. I recommend this film to anyone who wants to watch a good horror movie for once. Best 32 minutes of spine tingling horror I've ever seen. Thanks Mike.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic and Frightening Short Film

9/10
Author: Christopher T. Chase (cchase@onebox.com) from Arlington, VA.
19 September 2006

THIS is what real inventive indie film-making is all about! Thanks to my connection to the horror review site KILLER REVIEWS.com (I'm a staff writer there), I had the privilege of finally seeing this. I'm still amazed at how much of it was based solely on building a sense of ever-increasing dread without so much as seeing a single limb hacked off and barely any blood at all!

Director Mike Flanagan reinforces the theory that still stands the test of time: it's not what you can see that really scares you, but what you CAN'T. Kudos as well to Scott Graham for a tremendous performance as a young man trying to solve the mystery of his parents' deaths and the connection the antique mirror (the focus of the story) has to what happened. No spoilers here, folks: if you haven't seen this yet at a local festival, hopefully you'll get the chance if this becomes part of a horror shorts collection in the future.

Mike Flanagan is definitely a director to watch, and Scott Graham is well on his way to following in the footsteps of great genre actors such as Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Campbell.

Outstanding first effort, and I hope to see MUCH more...

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Impressive!

10/10
Author: smallleigh from United Kingdom
26 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was lucky enough to see this wonderful film at the Dead by Dawn Festival at the weekend. Oculus is a cheaply made film which is visible from the start. But that doesn't effect the impact this film has on an audience. An antique mirror with deadly powers is tracked down by a guy who's been researching into the deaths of the past people who have owned it. Setting up an experiment, consisting of several cameras, various alarms, a plant, a dog and a white sheet, he sets out to reveal the mysteries of the mirror once and for all. This short had some exceptional parts in it. *SPOILER* The mirror people bellowing out the sound of the alarm is so cool, the mirror ghost suddenly appearing when the lights flash scared the s***t out of me, and the mirror itself - for an everyday inanimate object really does strike a nerve. *END OF SPOILER* This film; considering its low budget, and its average acting is a very powerful film that produces some strange and interesting ideas. I would recommend anyone to see this short if they get the chance, and as its part 3, hopefully the i'll someday get the chance to see 1 and 2 - fingers crossed!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Short

10/10
Author: Beth from Madison, WI
12 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We saw this short at the DragonCon Film Festival in Atlanta. This is a great brooding short that builds. The creep factor is very high, and it's heightened by the fact that we can see what's happening, but the main character can't.

I thought the beeping alarm clocks were a little too loud and therefore a little irritating, but I'm guessing that was the desired effect. This also could have been due to the sound at the venue where we saw it. It wasn't a great room for movies, acoustic-wise.

The make-up was very good, and the special effects were nice and creepy. Kudos to the team that created this, and we are looking forward to more installations!

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Somewhat different horror film

4/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
15 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Oculus: Chapter 3 - The Man with the Plan" is a half-hour short film from almost 10 years ago. The writer and director is Mike Flanagan and he also made a feature film based on this one here. The whole thing is basically about a man's desperate attempts to prove that an old mirror (in a very sterile environment) is haunted. It's basically a one-man show for the lead actor here and I guess he does a fine job all in all. The random rambling gets repetitive and annoying, but that's not his fault, but the script's. Still, the material is simply not good enough for 30 minutes here and I really hope Flanagan managed to step it up with the full feature. As for this film here, I was never scared and I was rarely entertained. The good thing is that the end is probably the biggest strength of the film after 25 minutes of boredom though, so that was not a big achievement exactly. All in all, a fairly forgettable film and I cannot say this got me curious at all about the director's other works. Not recommended.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Creepy

7/10
Author: jfgibson73 from United States
9 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Oculus was creepy and unnerving. It is a little over 30 minutes, it takes place entirely in a single, undecorated room, and is almost entirely performed by a single actor. A man locks himself in a room with a large decorative mirror. He has several recording devices set up to document what will happen. He turns the cameras on and begins explaining what led to this "experiment." It turns out that the mirror has a history of causing violent death in every place that it has hung, including the narrator's own home. His father and mother were among the mirror's victims, and now he wants to document its effects. By shutting himself up in the room and recording what happens, he intends to prove the mirror is cursed.

In Oculus, there are very few special effects supplementing the performance. Yet, it builds incredibly well towards a tense, satisfying conclusion. For much of the film, the mirror actually stays covered up by a white sheet, but even without much happening visually, the film still creates and builds a tense atmosphere. I consider this short film to be one of the more effective entries in its genre.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

profoundly disturbing

10/10
Author: unity9 from United Kingdom
10 June 2009

What can i say, i love the Twilight Zone style shorts (and i'd say this was akin to that sort of sci-fi /horror) but this has got to be one of the most affecting short films that i've ever seen without it having to lower itself to the reliance of gore and visual explicitness.Simply a gruelling and incredibly paranoid half hour. Shot on an obviously low budget with minimal casting and mininimal locations (i.e. one room) it achieves maximum tension and maximum freakishness without actually being overtly freaky. A completely different viewing experience from what the ordinary filmic audience is used to.The acting was superb from the main character and my only quarm with the entire production is the last few seconds could have been a little more in the same vein and less showy (not in an f/x sense but more in a well,was it him or was it the mirror? Regardless,it's one of the most (not terrifying, but i think psychologically draining would be an accurate summary) nightmarish shorts you're likely to see.Check it out now!!!! A+

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Awesome...dying to see it.

Author: dochouse-1 from United States
22 January 2007

Can't rate it as I have only seen the trailer, but it looks phenomenal. I love the minimalism, and that Flanagan doesn't try to do more with effects than his budget allows. He seems to work well within his limitations, rather than trying to stretch beyond them, which might distract the viewer from the atmosphere he intends to create.

I need to find this on DVD, ASAP. Any suggestions?

I went to school with Scotty Graham. Best friend I ever had. When he becomes famous, I'll make him buy my silence on all sorts of drunken childhood exploits the two of us shared. Just kidding about the last part. He was my best man at my wedding. Really happy for him.

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