*Trying not to be too spoilery but I will warn you this is a bit spoilery*
There are so many good things to like about Oculus. First, it is a very original movie which, in today’s day and age, we don’t get often enough. It feels mature, rather than feeling like it is catering to teenagers, which is nice. There is a meshing of timelines that is masterfully done, and a joy to watch. The acting is well done and the characters are engaging. The children’s acting in the early timeline is especially wrought with emotion, and exceptionally done. The father’s descent is especially wrenching, if a bit steep.
But I feel like the movie dropped the ball somewhere along the line. A comment that I heard in The Bloodcast‘s discussion of the movie is sticking with me, “It’s five miles wide but one inch deep.” The premise is sound and the story starts with promise. But.. the flaws become apparent and the end is disappointing. I was delighted with Karen Gillan’s performance. You see her character Kaylie charging in, she does her research, and is a complete badass. But then the story fails her. I am for a dire ends, but not at the expense of your characters. She felt a bit pushed under the bus. Also, once the story started losing it’s way, I felt less moved by what they were going through. The mythology started amazingly, but when it was over I actually made the comment, “I liked this so much but at the end the whole point is that there is a spooky mirror that likes to eat people? That’s all I get?” I felt like the characters deserved a bit more, the mythology needed just a bit more depth, and the story needed a little more tweaking. It’s hard when you see such an expertly done warm up and start, but then they run out of gas five inches in front of the finish line. It seems a double shame because so much of this film was well extremely well done, and fantastically acted.
My final words, please still go see this. Support movies that don’t come from the same cookie cutter. GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY. There is so much that is amazing, in this movie, that it was worth the price of admission; the quality of the acting and the duel timeline interweaving are both masterful, and I can’t remember ever seeing either done quite this way or as well. It is unique and original, and I think it is worth it to forgive its ending sputters for the overall quality.