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Movie Review of Oculus, 2013

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By Edited Aug 6, 2016 0 0

Summary of the Film without Spoiling the Movie's Ending

This is the tale of a brother and sister tormented by the memories of the terrible deaths of their parents and a haunted  and possessed antique mirror. Both siblings were young children at the time of the incident. After this tragic event, the young boy grows up in a mental institution while his sister is apparently raised by a family. The children promise each other that when they grow up they would reunite and dish-out retribution on the mirror of death. Unfortunately, things don’t work out as they had planned.

Haunted Mirror
Main Characters and Actors

The two primary characters, Kaylie and Tim Russell find themselves jumping back and forth from their present ages back to their original childhood experiences as the mirror manipulates their reality.

Kaylie Russell:  Actor Karen Gillan plays a young woman named Kaylie Russell, who as a child, experiences the horror and eventual death of her parents. Dr. Who fans will know Gillan as the companion named Amy Pond from the series years 2012 to 2013 . More currently, she also plays the role of the alien named Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014. Annalise Basso plays the character Kaylie as a child during the original events. Gillan and Basso play the role with seamless consistency as a brave analytic thinking and determined sister bent on revenge.

Tim Russell: Brenton Thwaites plays the now young adult Tim Russell, Kaylie's younger brother. The most recent movies Thwaites co-stars in are Maleficent and The Giver. Garrett Ryan plays the very young child Tim Russell during the events of the parents death. Thwaites and Ryan play their common character quite differently: Ryan, as the young boy plays his role as a fearful child that cannot comprehend or cope with the terrible events as they occur; while Thwaites plays his role as a cusp of adulthood young man who has been thoroughly indoctrinated into the psychological teachings of his physician. 

The mother, Marie Russell, is played by Katee Sackhoff (stared in Battlestar Galactica and Riddick). Sackoff’s portrayl of the mother going from a happy, loving mother and wife into a tormented haunted, and eventually crazed rabid woman is excellent. However, the movie doesn’t really take full advantage of her performance.

The father, Alan Russell, is played by Rory Cochrane (played in several episodes of the crime series CSI Miami and action series 24 with Kiefer Sutherland). His performance in the father role is adequate; not overly frightening for someone relatively possessed by evil. 

Oculus Official Trailer

Movie Critique

Don't Get Lost in the Details

The movie never gets into the specifics or even the generalities of how the legal system assumed that Tim, as a child, was the murderer of his father or who the authorities determined killed the mother. You are left to assume that the legal system centered the events of the parents' deaths on the little boy. As for the little girl, Kaylie, where and how she was raised is left up in the air for your imagination. 

Film Reel

The siblings are reunited just as Kaylie locates the mirror that somehow disappeared from the house after the parents died, and somehow the house was still available and inherited by the siblings. The "how" of events leading to the reuniting of the brother and sister, along with taking possession of the old home and the mirror, require the viewer to go-with-the-flow of the story and not think too hard about what is missing from the story.

The end of the movie was a surprise and a little disappointing. Not that it’s a bad ending, nor is it a problem with the acting, it’s just that the story closes with a disturbing event that leaves the viewer hanging and feeling a bit sorry for the characters.

Final Word

In spite of assumptions a viewer has to accept on the issues already mentioned, the story of the mirror and its influence on individuals that come in contact with it, along with the efforts Kaylie takes to control the situation make this movie worth watching. 



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  1. IMDb "Oculus (2013)." IMDb Film Reviews. 3/09/2014 <Web >

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