Oculus – Horror Movie

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Oculus (2014) was written and directed by Mike Flanagan with help writing from Jeff Seidman and Jeff Howard. Starring Karen Gillan(Doctor Who & Guardians of the Galaxy), Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackoff(Riddick & Battlestar Galactica), and Rory Cochrane.

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

Oculus starts out 11 years previously and runs it’s timeline parallel with the present time (2013 a year before the film came out).  I firmly believe that the story’s lack of a linear story made this film harder to understand fully. Plus with the abuse of the children(the most appalling aspect of the film) being not seen to the end, did prevent me from getting my money back on this shamefully create trash.

I believe that the films story of a mirror with supernatural powers that takes over the minds of anyone who stares into would have been more believable if the children would have also had issues with it and if the backstory of the mirror was explained better, but it wasn’t. While watching this film the beginning sucks you in with hopes of a tragic back story, but it only shows you tiny pieces and then shows you the characters as adults, not explaining much of what is going on.

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It really felt like the writers watched a movie similar to Memento and thought “Oh look we can do that too” and then failed miserably. Karen Gillan’s character, Kaylie acts like a well-adjusted adult for about ten minutes of this film and then it becomes blatantly obvious that she should have been the one in the nut house not her brother.

The story seems to thicken when you learn that every family that has had this mirror had died “mysteriously” and then Kaylie makes the mirror disappear. She takes it to her family home and sets up cameras to capture the “ghost” or “power” that the mirror is supposed to have. The brother makes it out and meets her there, in which they struggle with what happened to them in the past, but Karen’s acting is a bit flat at times, which brought me out of the story. Though the giant gaping holes in the story didn’t help either.

I think this was Karen’s first American role though so I tried to give her credit for her strange accent and weird acting that put me off. But the story and the locations/scenery seemed odd as well. I felt like the movie was not well put together or thought out and the story needed to be fleshed out way more than it was. At one moment in the film the timelines “merge” I suppose from the powers of the mirror? We start to see the adults interact with their children counterparts.

Karen’s character spends a great deal of time thinking that she has recorded and beat the mirror in this film only to find that she had indeed set herself up to die. The brother’s younger version is taken away again to the asylum and at the beginning of the film he saw the ghosts of his parents, he now sees the ghost of his sister. This film made no sense and literally was detestable.

I give it 1 measly broken shard of glass out of a full 10 mirror.

The Babadook – Horror Movie

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The Babadook (2014) was written and directed by Jennifer Kent. Starring Essie Davis (Game of Thrones), Noah Wiseman, and Daniel Henshall.

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

The Babadook is a tale grief and being able to control and understand what is going on with it. The story stays pretty closely around Sam and Amelia. Sam is the son of Amelia and Oskar, in which Oskar died. Amelia is left picking up the pieces and holding her tiny family together. This film was an excruciatingly slow-burn, starting with the emotional drainage of Amelia and displaying the outburst of the tyrannically disturbed child Samuel.

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Unfortunately the way that this film was created if I were to ever meet the poor child, Noah Wiseman in person I would punch him in the face. He’s entirely too annoying, whether that is his acting style or merely him showing through, I cannot tell. His constant screaming and yelling at his mother, makes me want to beat this child relentlessly and I’m not that kind of person. He definitely makes it easy to see why Amelia wants to pull out her hair and never get out of bed ever again.

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Samuel after getting kicked out of school for being destructive and non-cooperative, decides that his mother must read to him. He pulls out a seemingly childish fairy-tale pop-up book called Mister Babadook. As she reads the tale she notices that the story is way more adult then it’s led to believe. Mister Babadook is a monster that if you are aware of him, he will engulf/eat you take over your body and kill everyone in the vicinity. Yay! That seems reasonable.

So, Amelia now away that Babadook is a monster starts to lose her mind even more than what the viewers thought possible. I have to say here that so far an hour of my life has been sucked away by a screaming, annoying child and now I’m watching as the mother of said child completely loses it. I want to join her. I really do. The child eventually calms down enough that you start to actually care if he lives and you watch as the Babadook takes over Amelia.

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Samuel in his annoying little way has created monster killing weapons, that doesn’t kill the monster at all but annoys it. THERE IS AN UNNECESSARY ANIMAL DEATH in the film that almost made me turn off the film. It was a long, hard watch, but I finally reached the end and you realize ****SPOILER**** that Babadook is just the emotion grief that Amelia was never able to feel because she was trying to be strong for Samuel. She locks it up in the basement after a tedious battle, she keeps it there with her husbands items and feeds it.

I may not have liked this film for the content, but the story, acting, and even the visuals were really well-done. It did not deserve the title of best horror film to come out in 2014 but it can be called a great Arthouse horror film. I feel like the slow-burn, annoying kid, and the monsters not well-hidden personification was a kink in the film.

I give this film 5.5 slowly opening closet doors out of 10.