Oculus, a Reflection

Oculus

As a movie, Oculus was fresh, unique, and interesting. As a concept, it made me a little nervous. The metaphorical sun this star system of spooks orbits is an antique mirror haunted by a particularly nasty spirit that gets its rocks off by screwing with people’s minds before driving them to suicide. You might think, “But if the spirit’s power is connected to the mirror, why can’t the protagonists just smash it?” First of all, this is a horror movie. How dare you suggest the obvious solution. Secondly, the mirror doesn’t just mess with minds; it peels them apart and drags out your deepest, darkest memories, tormenting you at a growing pace via vivid hallucinations. You thought you were smashing the mirror? Nah, you were just watering a plant. Have a gun pointed at it? Double check you’re not pointing it at yourself. Lock and load!

OculusTim Russel (Brenton Thwaites) just got released from a mental institution, supposedly fixed after suffering a particularly nasty and mirror-oriented childhood trauma. His big sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) has followed the Lasser Glass to an auction house, and marks it for “repair” so she can transport it to their old family home and set the record straight. With recorded evidence of ol’ Lassie Glassie’s supernatural nature, big sister can finally prove to the world that in fact the mirror killed her mother, not their father, who was driven to violent insanity by Lassie’s aura. See, the problem there is, Kaylie is afflicted by the teenage delusion that she’s invincible to Lassie’s influence, and Tim has been mentally “fixed” so meticulously that he initially doesn’t want anything to do with the project when his sister lays down the brass tacks.

Through a system of timers, cameras, and one weighted mirror-cracking killswitch on a timer, Kaylie hopes to threaten the mirror into defending itself against the threat of destruction, consequently recording tangible proof of its supernatural influence. It sure seems like a great idea, until the siblings start experiencing none other than violent, vivid hallucinations that take them right back to the darkest days of their childhood. And yes, they’re not allowed to leave. Not until the haunt is done with them.

See, due to the psychological nature of the Lasser Glass’s power, the backstory and the present are interwoven seamlessly, to the point where you wonder what’s real and what isn’t. Not only are Kaylie and Tim having flashbacks that shut off their awareness of the present, they’re also prone to normal hallucinations that screw with them to the same extent. Seriously, Kaylie goes to take a bite out of an apple and it turns out to be a light bulb. Or does it? I’m not gonna tell you because it would be spoiling one of my favorite moments.

OculusYou can get your hopes up for the Russel siblings, but you probably shouldn’t. Oftentimes the human mind is the only thing that can conquer deranged killers and spooks, but without that… You’re even more screwed than the idiots who keep leaving machetes and chainsaws next to the supposedly dead murderer’s body. Basically spoiled the nature of the ending, but at least you get to wonder just how catastrophically they fail!

Kofi Outlaw of ScreenRant was none too happy with the ending, saying that it went out with a fizzle instead of a bang. I’m on the same page, but I do think Oculus is creative enough to warrant a curiosity watch and a rewatch for clarity at the very least. Kofi explains the origin of the film in his review, so if you want the full Oculus review experience, take a dive through here: http://screenrant.com/oculus-reviews-movie-2014/

Mirrors: An Idiot Reflected is Just as Dumb

MirrorsI don’t hate Mirrors. I really don’t. I just hate every single actor and actress they put in there. I hate them, and I’m very sad that some of them survive. I’m very happy that bad things happen to them. They come off as very annoying, because they follow the horror movie clichés to the letter. I really don’t hate Mirrors, but thanks to the cast, I do. I feel bad for judging a bad-bad horror movie, but sometimes it feels good to just hate on a deserving one. On with the review, then.

Benjamin Carson is a night watchman at a mall, the Mayflower, that just burned down. He ditched the the police force because of his drinking and the subsequent violence that wrought, and he’s on powerful medication to keep his urges suppressed. Amy Carson, his wife, asks that he stay away from the family until she feels he’s ready to come back. For now, he lives with his sister Angie in her apartment.

So, the clichés start to kick in when he begins to witness unusual imagery in the unusually clean mirrors. From the beginning, we know that the original caretaker was murdered by the mirrors killing his reflection. Or… something. So then, the mirrors begin to haunt Ben with terrifying images. He finds the original caretaker’s wallet, and discovers that the mirrors want someone by the name of Esseker.

MirrorsI’d like to point out that all throughout the course of the movie, all of these scary incidents are relayed from Ben to Amy and Angie, and neither of them believes him. Amy thinks he’s hallucinating because of his medication, and Angie just thinks he’s under stress. Ben even manages to drop the “I’m not crazy” line, which pissed me off to the extreme. I don’t like the crazy gambit in horror movies, not at all. It’s choppy, irritating, persistent, and adds nothing to the movie’s plot aside from a sense of solitude, and that’s not really worth it.

ANYWAYS. The mirrors kill Angie, which really pisses Ben off. They even start to threaten his wife and kids. He starts to investigate Esseker, finds an asylum connected to the Mayflower’s lower area, and finds that Anna Esseker was a patient in there, being treated for schizophrenia. Some mirror shenanigans go down in the Carson home, and Ben winds up finding Anna and forcing her back to the hospital at gunpoint.

At that point, something interesting happens. Something that pissed me off. This movie tends to do that. So yeah, Esseker is placed in a room of mirrors, and the demon escapes the mirrors and into her body. Because she was actually possessed, and they used the mirrors to take it out of her. Ben winds up impaling the dumb, stupid demon on a gas pipe and exploding her. It works, but he winds up stuck in the mirror world. Forever alone.

MirrorsI dedicate this paragraph to bashing on a child actor. He plays Michael. HE SUCKS. Apparently, he can see things in the mirrors. He’s the least convincing in regards to his voice and facial expressions, and he makes me want to punch him in the face. He even manages to get possessed by the mirror demon somehow, which doesn’t make sense considering the mirror demon can’t actually get into people’s minds. That said, he slashes his mom across the face with a knife. What an asshole. I hate him. Argh.

That concludes my in-depth analysis of the movie Mirrors. I can sum up the entire thing by saying I don’t like it. Because I don’t. And the unrated version doesn’t contain any bonus content. It’s actually exactly the same. Literally no difference. What the hell, man? Not worth it. Don’t buy this movie. If anything, steal it and play it when you have something else you need to do that requires background noise. Only time you’ll actually be able to enjoy it. That’s all I have to say about that.