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Snoogans's Movie Reviews (3276)

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Oculus 
Not Your True Reflection?
2.5/4 stars

'Oculus' is the first new mainstream horror film released this year that is not genre typical. There are supernatural causes at work, but the journey is one of psychological involvement. The main plot device of this mysterious mirror is used effectively in messing with the minds of the characters and also the expectations of the audience. Everything about the mirror is kept as vague as possible. Only it's body count and effect on humans is shown. Often we experience the mind tricks being played on the characters. Scenes play out one way then reverse to show the real event. The familiar scenario frequents to the point where we are not at all confident which part of what we saw actually happened and which was the ruse. These moments are very effective at keeping one's interest fully peaked for the whole running time. The finale packs on the surprise and unease by utilizing this tactic to it's fullest. There are two stories that play out simultaneously, one from the past and one from the present, that involve the same characters (young and adult versions). The ending melds both of their outcomes together in the same fashion as the mind trickery. Here lies my only big problem with the film. This sharing of the two stories makes for an interesting watch, but doesn't sustain any tension or suspense. Certain moments try to induce fear and fail. At no point was I ever involved with the characters or the actual horror of it all. Outside all of the trickery, the rest feels like extra background images meant to fill up the canvas and make the picture seem whole. I thought the psychological aspect was handled extremely well, to the point where focus was off in other areas. I consider this a strong rental for anyone wanting to get 'mind f***ed!'. It is very much worth seeing for that reason alone.


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