Oculus (2014)



Critic Consensus: With an emphasis on dread over gore and an ending that leaves the door wide open for sequels, Oculus could be just the first spine-tingling chapter in a new franchise for discerning horror fans.

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Ten years ago, tragedy struck the Russell family, leaving the lives of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie forever changed when Tim was convicted of the brutal murder of their parents. Now in his 20s, Tim is newly released from protective custody and only wants to move on with his life; but Kaylie, still haunted by that fateful night, is convinced her parents' deaths were caused by something else altogether: a malevolent supernatural force unleashed through the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home. Determined to prove Tim's innocence, Kaylie tracks down the mirror, only to learn similar deaths have befallen previous owners over the past century. With the mysterious entity now back in their hands, Tim and Kaylie soon find their hold on reality shattered by terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that their childhood nightmare is beginning again... (c) Relativity
R (for terror, violence, some disturbing images and brief language)
Drama , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Karen Gillan
as Kaylie Russell
Brenton Thwaites
as Tim Russell
Rory Cochrane
as Alan Russell
Katee Sackhoff
as Marie Russell
James Lafferty
as Michael Dumont
Annalise Basso
as Young Kaylie
Garrett Ryan
as Young Tim
Miguel Sandoval
as Dr. Shawn Graham
Kate Siegel
as Marisol Chavez
Scott Graham
as Warren
Michael Fourticq
as St. Aidan Security Guard
Katie Parker
as Phone Store Clerk
Justin Gordon
as Mark (Supervisor)
Bob Gebert
as Neighbor
Zak Jeffries
as Officer 2
Courtney Bell
as Auctioneer
Elisa Victoria
as Skype Worker
Dave Levine
as Robert Clancy
Stephanie Minter
as Virginia Lasser
Lesa Johnson
as Mary O'Connor
Allison Boyd
as Beatrice O'Connor
James Flanagan
as Tobin Capp
Alexandra Beer
as Marcia Walker
Marc Evans
as Oliver Jeffries
Toni Elizabeth White
as Alice Carden
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News & Interviews for Oculus

Critic Reviews for Oculus

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (32)

Oculus is about one adjustment away from being a superior thriller.

Full Review… | January 5, 2015
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Praised on the festival circuit, it's got what it takes to succeed outside of that rarefied atmosphere.

Full Review… | January 5, 2015
Top Critic

What's missing? A sense of the ineffable.

Full Review… | January 5, 2015
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Oculus, a cleverer-than-average haunted-house movie... speaks to a couple of widespread anxieties-one topical, the other sadly timeless.

Full Review… | January 5, 2015
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

"Reaches right through you and chills you to the bone."

Full Review… | April 19, 2014
Richard Roeper.com
Top Critic

As far as competence goes, Oculus doesn't have so little as to be accidentally entertaining or enough to come close to working.

Full Review… | April 17, 2014
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Oculus


After watching "Oculus" for the first time I was just a little disappointed, because though there are many frightening elements to this story, it's much more of a psychological mystery than a horror film. Thinking this was more of a ghost story, I went in expecting specters, and a clear, concise ending, but this film surprised me. Leaving much of this ambiguous for the viewer, the film is a fully realized thought experiment about paranormal investigations, and how much of these characters' actions can be blamed on this mirror's influence, or their own mental illness. I didn't like this ambiguity at first, but after letting the film simmer in my brain for a couple of days I was still thinking through the complexities of the premise of the story. I could easily watch this again and again, toiling over what the events of the story mean, and whether the mirror really is haunted. The great thing about this film is that it stays with you, seeps into you, until, like the mirror's influence, it takes hold. There aren't many horror films that can boast such complexities. I wouldn't be surprised if, like recent horror trends, this film spurs sequels, but I hope it doesn't. The ending was perfect, fusing the past and present in a furious whirlwind, never letting us know exactly what transpired in that house. It was confusing at times, since it melded two separate narratives, and included hallucinations, but it controlled its story well and ended perfectly. Any sequel would botch the nuanced aspects of this modern horror classic.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Mike Flanagan's Oculus brings some thrills to the horror genre. Spanning a little over 90 minutes, the film's first half and build up is a highlight. The time jumps with the storytelling, along with the film's concept, unleash a boatload of mystery and intrigue. With that said, the final act ends up muddled and unfulfilling, as if the ball was dropped midway through. A few scare cliches are employed from time to time, but the scares are lean in the grand scheme of things. Instead the film feeds off of the creepy atmosphere and the R-rated violence. Karen Gillan is quite the performer and is a strength of this picture. Katee Sackhoff gets a little creepy, which is what is asked of her. Brenton Thwaites ends up overshadowed by Gillan. Thanks to its strong first half, Oculus is in the better end of the spectrum and becomes a recommendable horror thriller. Be careful with those light bulbs.

JY Skacto
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer


Oculus is freaky. That's all you need to know. Now go see it. If you want me to go in more detail, I won't. The narrative progression explains everything you need to know and there's nary a plot hole in sight. The performances are solid and the story is unique. Jumping through different time periods, Oculus chronicles the story of a mirror that siblings Kaylie and Tim think is haunted and is responsible for the murder of their parents. Tim spent eleven years in prison undergoing psychiatric evaluation for being convicted of this murder. But Kaylie knows the truth, or at least she thinks she does. This mirror has a crazy defense mechanism in that it can possess you, make you do things or transport you to places without you being aware. The jumping through different time periods goes a little into excessive hyperdrive in the third act but it's still intense. There is some predictability, but overall, this is a well made horror film. Mike Flanagan shows great control over the visual style and the story, and the actors completely sell the story. This film is just as scary and as enjoyably effective as The Conjuring.

Edward Boxler
Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

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