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.

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Hush – Horror Movie

Hush

Hush (2016) was directed by the up and coming horror director Mike Flanagan. Written by Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel. It stars Kate Siegel (Demon Legacy and Oculus), John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane), Michael Trucco (Huge TV star and aparently up in Bye Bye Man), and Samantha Sloyan (has not appeared in any horror).

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

Mike Flanagan is getting to be big in the horror industry for whatever reason, I say this because his films: Absentia, Oculus, and Before I Wake, have not even peaked my interest. Well actually that is a lie. I went and watched Oculus in the theater, but that is a review for another time.

I saw some previews for Hush, being marketed entirely as unique. The problem that I see is that it was not unique. This is a home invasion film. Maddie the main character is a woman that lives alone and a “man” (actual name of the character) seriously tries hard to invade the home, torture Maddie and kill her. This is a typical home invasion film. The ONLY uniqueness is that Maddie is deaf in both ears. She was not always deaf. She reads lips, she signs, and apparently she is a writer who lives in the cabin alone in the woods.

I wanted to believe that Hush was the film that would display uniqueness to this particular sub-genre. What this film did was display a fully functional adult acting as a deaf person. I’m not sure what studying was done, though I do know that the sign language that is used is correct for the most part.

Hush the Man

Things that I loved about this film, the man. This character was given no background, no intentions, and the most creative mindset of the whole film. Never given a name, the man sneaks into the unguarded home of Maddie and steals her phone. He goes right back outside. So immediately we know that he isn’t in it for just the kill, he wants the chase, the thrill. Most of the time as a viewer, we want an explanation. We NEVER get it. He tortures Maddie inside her mostly glass home, where he could easily destroy all the glass and make his way in.

The film not so subtly hints at some foreshadowing in the story with a smoke detector that is extremely loud and bright in order to grab the attention of the our deaf Maddie. This plot device is used in an extremely obvious manner, making me want to gag. The computer, phone, and other devices along the way also are super apparent.

I’ve recently made a friend with a deaf person, because my best friend is dating him and I was excited to see his culture represented in my genre. But now, I feel a bit of shame. This film was not as good as promised. The script was too easily written and the characters that were meant to have depth fell flat, while the ONE character with no background was predominately stealing the show.

Out of 10 bloody iPhones, I give this film a mere 3 and 1/2. I really want a better representation of horror and deaf culture coming together.