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After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes from the mental institution (where he was committed as a 10 year old) and he immediately returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister, Laurie. Anyone who crosses his path is in mortal danger.
Please name me one mirror movie that doesn't leave you perplexed
**1/2 out of ****
Upon reading the reviews, a lot of them entailed that while "Oculus" is told in a non-linear fashion, that it makes sense in the end, and that everything is wrapped up in a nice little package. I think we saw a different movie.
"Oculus" revolves around brother and sister trying to figure out if the mirror is responsible for a tragic death that occurred, which landed brother into the loony bin.
Now what I liked about "Oculus" is what a lot of critics did as well: Mixing the past with the present, sometimes with events that are a figment of one of the character's imaginations, or seen from a character's different perspective. This leaves what could have been a typical "something went bump in the night!" story, behind. But why this doesn't work: It feels like there's no plot. Rather than having your exposition, your rising action, climax, etc., it's like there's no climax, there's no "ah! that's why this makes sense" moment. It's like watching fragments of a movie, with no complete picture.
One thing I must say is that the acting wasn't all-around spectacular like many lead me to believe. The sister was at times a bit much, and her "theories" got to get a little out of hand. It reminded me of those overt-religious movies that get too preachy. But other than a few times she got out of hand, she was solid. The brother was serviceable but nothing amazing. The father was a really good actor, but the mother was a little wooden. The little kid actors though stole the show. I might even start to believe the child actors were better than the grown-ups!
Now what's shocking about "Oculus" is how light it is on scares, and surprisingly, how much it relied on jump scares and cheap thrills. While every reviewer out there will try to hinder this fact, I'm going to tell you while the way it's presented is a little different, it's essentially the same scare-vehicle. You have people coming in and out of scenes, the whole "gotcha!" moments, etc. It was like "Insidious". But I have to hand it to the filmmakers, there was a few times I was watching "Oculus" where I was flabbergasted.
What a few reviewers picked up on was how pitch-perfect the editing was, and I agree. Studying editing myself, and cutting together some amateur videos, there was not one shot I would change, editing-wise. Everything ran at the length it should have, I liked transitions, etc. But as far as direction goes, the beginning and end leave a lot to be desired. I didn't have as much as an issue with the beginning as most people had, but some of the stuff just did not work. The dialog got to be cheesy, character motifs were pretty questionable, it felt at times like a rough draft. And that ending? I might not have taken a Psychology course, but even I don't think everything fit like a perfect package.
What stays the same in all these mirror movies are the complex structures, and I don't know why. "Mirrors" which came out maybe half a decade ago was completely nonsensical and rather dry. "Oculus" was more interesting you could argue, but still kind of perplexing and nonsensical in its structure.
I think the biggest problem with "Oculus" is not that it wasn't what I expected, in a matter of fact, that's what might get a lot of non-horror fans and general moviegoers to see this one. It's the fact that it is way too silly to take seriously at times. We already had to suspend our belief with the mirror already, but there's some instances that took me out of the film.
While it sounds like I found this movie highly problematic, I will say that it didn't disappoint me to the point where I regret seeing it. Not exactly praise, or a reason to get you to see this movie, but it's definitely different. I just wouldn't go in expecting something among the greats such as "The Conjuring". If you expect more like this year's "Insidious" or maybe even "Sinister", you'll walk away a little more fulfilled.
I'm going to give "Oculus" a mild recommendation and advise a matinée.
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