Ten years ago, a major tragedy destroyed the Russell family, leaving two young children, Tim and Kaylie, as the lone survivors. As a minor, Tim was convicted of the brutal murder of his parents. Now in his 20s, Tim is released, where he attempts to fix his life and reconnect with his sister Kaylie. While Tim just wants to start over, Kaylie is convinced that her parents' deaths were caused by a malevolent supernatural being living in a antique mirror. Obsessed with proving her brothers innocence and uncovering the truth, Kaylie tracks down the mirror and convinces her brother to help. Mike Flanagan's Oculus is one of the best American horror films in recent memory due to its ability to tap into such a primal state of fear. The supernatural entity in this film plays with the characters perceptions, manipulating their minds into seeing/feeling/doing whatever it desires. What makes Oculus work so much better than other films with similar ideas is the film itself has this effect on the audience, manipulating the viewer's perceptions in a way that makes it hard to discern what is real and what is imaginary, increasing the tension throughout. While Oculus is certainly stylish, it is not a film that relies on jump scares or cinematic tricky to create its scares. The narrative of the film is well structured too, going from past to present seamlessly, even using this back and forth to its advantage towards the end of the film to further disorient the viewer. Mike Flanagan's Oculus is a simple, dark story with strong characters and a unique villain, that together with a talented filmmaker, make it one of the best horror films in years.
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