I try to make an effort to see supernatural horror when it gets a cinema release and the TV spot for Oculus made it clear that this was my kind of horror. I knew next to nothing about the film but I was quite content to go into the cinema blind.
PLOT: On his 21st birthday Tim (Brenton Thwaites) is released from a mental institution after witnessing a violent family altercation ten years ago which ended with Tim shooting his father. Tim’s sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) is convinced that the events were the result of a supernatural occurrence and seeks Tim’s help in capturing proof on film. END PLOT.
The plot of Oculus is decent and present day events play out in tandem with the incident ten years previous. While Oculus does have some legitimately creepy moments there is no sense of danger during the flashback scenes given that we are aware that both children survive the attack. The impact of the flashback scenes is lessened even further as the audience is told what happened to the parents quite early on so we were reduced to simply watching these events play out. If it weren’t for the extended flashback sequences Oculus would have been over in 30mins.
Karen Gillan and her young counterpart Annalise Basso save the film with their strong performances however Brenton Thwaites as the elder Tim is a complete a non-identity and it is sad to see Katee Sackhoff reduced to a minor role supporting role.
The limited special effects do their job and there is one toe-curling moment involving an apple and a light bulb. I am thankful that there wasn’t an overabundance of gore but there was a distinct lack of jumps and scares and worse than that, there was barely any tension.
Oculus isn’t a bad film but it isn’t half as clever as it thinks it is. 4/10. Expect several straight to dvd sequels.