Friday, April 25, 2014

Jason watches OCULUS

Director Mike Flanagan also made ABSENTIA, which I saw at Another Hole In The Head back in 2011. I loved it then and thought he had a great flair for story-based, supernatural, mysterious horror. And that talent is fully realized here, in this story about a brother-sister team setting out to prove a mirror is haunted. Based on his 2006 short (which I haven't seen, but am curious about) it opens with Tim Russell being released from a mental hospital. It's gradually revealed that years ago he committed a horrible crime, and so did his father. But his sister Kaylie believes it was all the fault of a haunted mirror deceiving people, and knows that Tim saw it too when he was young (the psychological angle of how our self-perception drives us mad is pretty evident.) So she sets up an experiment. Several cameras record their actions while they spend a night in the house with the mirror. She has done a lot of research, tracing the mirror's ownership throughout history and detailing the strange deaths associated with it. Tim is skeptical--years of psychiatry has taught him to be. But weird things start happening. It's great, frightening fun to question everything you see, and by the end Flanagan has shown a true mastery of the art of supernatural, psychological horror, and while he gets bloodier than he did with ABSENTIA, the strength of his film is still in focusing on the mental rather than visceral aspects of horror. Excellent.

Running Time: 104 minutes
My Total Minutes: 359,841

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