Today we’ll be looking at Oculus.
Release date: April 11, 2014
Directed by: Mike Flanagan (Absentia)
Notable actors: Karen “Amy Pond” Gillian, Katee “Starbuck” Sackhoff
It’s nearly impossible for me to see a trailer involving a mirror and not think about Mirrors or Mirrors 2 (the former being a strange Kiefer Sutherland/Paula Patton vehicle, the latter being an excuse for Christy Carlson Romano to get naked). Those movies were not scary, though they tried very hard. I found them to be fun under the right circumstances, but I can’t see myself ever recommending them as serious horror movies.
I also think about the line, “Mirrors have always been gateways to another world,” from The Unborn (as it happens, that isn’t even close to the most ridiculous line in that movie).
With that background, it’s easy to see why I wasn’t overly excited about the prospect of watching a horror movie about a mirror. Not a great track record.
Still, horror movies and mirrors have had a long history together. It’s a list that includes the standard, “open bathroom mirror, close bathroom mirror, see demon/killer behind you that wasn’t there before,” (a well-worn trope to be sure, but one that can still creep me out when used effectively), the Anti-God invading our world through a mirror Prince of Darkness, Ash reaching through the mirror to strangle himself in Evil Dead 2, Olivia cutting up her face in the Evil Dead remake, Candyman, Bloody Mary, the “redrum” reveal in The Shining, and countless others.
My point is this: I have no issue with mirrors in horror movies, but walking into a pitch meeting with, “Mirrors be scary,” scribbled on a napkin isn’t the strongest idea for a movie.
All that being said, this looks like it could be really creepy. It’s a chilling trailer, at least. I’m hoping they kept something in reserve and didn’t show all the good stuff in the trailer.
There is some great imagery here. Lots of shadows and figures lurking in the darkness. There’s also a sense of uncertainty, like you can’t trust your own eyes or sanity. It looks like a movie that can really screw with your mind and scare you at the same time. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie like that.
If it lives up to the promise of this trailer, it will likely be the frontrunner for my favorite movie of 2014. Between now and the release date, I’m going to have to try to talk myself down a bit, or there’s a good chance I’ll be disappointed as a result of my sky-high expectations (that happened recently with Escape From Tomorrow, and I still haven’t recovered).