Sunday, 13 April 2014

Film Review - Oculus

They Do It With Mirrors

Film: Oculus
Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Duration: 1 hr 45 mins
Rating: * * * *

Couple of years ago, directed Mike Flanagan made Absentia, a film that brought him into prominence on the circuit. The latest venture Oculus is likely to enhance his position further as this is one of the better horror/thriller films in recent times. 

A good film needs a story that can keep you engrossed and add to it, technically, it has to be shot and edited in a way that can add considerable value to the story. Flanagan has done an excellent job on both counts. This is not a horror film that only involves scary faces and boo moments, it is one where the tension builds up and the graph moves upwards. 

The story couldn’t have been simpler. The brother sister duo of Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites) revisit their old house where a tragedy had occurred. The culprit is a mirror which is centuries old and is responsible for many deaths, including their parents. Her idea is to destroy the mirror and she has all the gadgets in place for this ‘experiment’ of hers. There are cameras in place, the temperature is being monitored, alarms are set to trigger off from time to time. 

Flanagan very cleverly uses flashbacks to tell us about what happened to the kids and keeps cutting to the present. When the pace of the film hits a crescendo, in the climax, the stories from the past and the present reach a converging point, thanks to some very slick editing by the director himself.  

What is more, both the characters are psychologically disturbed – she is hell bent on getting to the bottom of the mirror business even though it is a thing of the past, while he has just been released from a mental asylum. Are they seeing what they are supposed to see or is their mind playing tricks on them. Flanagan successfully manages to involve the viewer in their desolation. 

Virtually the whole film is set indoors leading to a claustrophobic setting and in this genre if a film manages to draw interest in how it happened rather than what happened, then the director has done a mighty good job. 

Technically, the film excels – whether it is the cinematography or the background music (The Newton Brothers), the contribution adds to the effect.  Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites may not be familiar names but they are terrific actors all the same, specially the Gillan who has it in her to make it big form here. Katee Sackhoff as the mother is a more recognizable face from Battlestar Galactica.

Oculus is not only makes it to the top in its genre even though it is not a very scary, but more importantly, it is an extremely well made film.

Published in The Navhind Times on 13th April

No comments:

Post a Comment