A lot of people say that all horror movies are the same and most of the time they are right. There aren't a lot of surprising scary movies nowadays. Oculus is different. I like that both stories, past and present, are told simultaneously. The storyline is fresh. Kaylie and Tim Russell are children when they move with their parents into a new home. Their father, Alan Russell, buys a big, antique mirror known as the Lasser Glass. Cut to the present. It is eleven years later. Tim is in a mental institution and Kaylie works with antiques. (Coincidence?) Tim is released on his 21st birthday, just as Kaylie tracks down the Lasser Glass and takes possession of it. (Coincidence?) Kaylie is convinced that a malevolent supernatural force is living in the Lasser Glass and killing anyone who owns it while Tim is convinced that Kaylie is insane, just as their dad was. (Maybe.) Present day Kaylie, played by Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan, recruits Tim and sets up an elaborate plan to document the mirror's influence in their old family home. She sets up timers to remind them to eat and drink, an anchor set up on a kill switch hangs above the mirror that will smash it if Kaylie or Tim are not alive to reset the timer, house plants litter the floor because the mirror "gets the low hanging fruit first." Kaylie's fiance Michael, played by James Lafferty of One Tree Hill, is set to call every hour on the hour. It's a foolproof plan, right? Wrong-o! The mirror comes to life, killing the houseplants and messing with Kaylie and Tim's minds. Flashing back to eleven years ago, Alan is becoming angry and distant while his wife, Marie, played by Katee Sackhoff, is becoming paranoid and psychotic. It is clear that both of the adults are under the mirror's influence. Marie freaks out and tries to murder Tim, so the logical thing for Alan to do is to chain her up in their bedroom. We go back to the future, light bulbs are burning out all over the house. This is the scene with which we are all familiar. The previews kind of ruined it for us. While Kaylie is changing light bulbs, she is also eating an apple. When she takes a bite, the mirror makes her think that she is holding a lightbulb. As she pulls a shard of glass from her mouth, it goes back to being an apple. As we go back to the past, Kaylie discovers her mother chained to the wall of the bedroom, all of her teeth completely shattered. As the story of the past unfolds, it is unclear whether the mirror is the cause of this or human psychosis. As the movie goes on, past and present start to blend together. When Kaylie finds a shattered plate belonging in the past, she is convinced it is not real. When her fiance comes to check on her, she is startled and puts a shard of plate in his neck. (No, James Lafferty!!!) It is unclear if this is real because soon after her phone rings. It is her fiance calling to check in. (Dun dun DUN!) Sorry Charlie, it's real. Michael is dead. Kaylie and Tim "run outside and call for help," though shortly after they see themselves inside the house, standing in front of the mirror. In the past, it is clear how Tim ended up in the nuthouse. This final night is a horror show. The kids watched as their father killed their mother, then Tim was forced to shoot their father. Meanwhile, ghosts are everywhere! Anyone the mirror has ever killed shows up as a ghost with creepy mirror eyes. (No, James Lafferty!!!) Tim is brought back to the present by the sound of alarms. Kaylie is nowhere to be found. Tim turns the dial to the killswitch, dropping the anchor on the mirror. Then it is revealed that, though Tim couldn't see her, Kaylie was standing right in front of the mirror. Back to the psych ward for Tim.
The kids who play young Kaylie and Tim are fantastic. Child actors can be really terrible, but these two are very convincing. I love the effect of the mirror eyes on the ghosts. I was expecting either both Kaylie and Tim to die or they defeat the evil living in the mirror. Instead, the mirror lives on and Tim is arrested for killing his sister, leaving the story open for sequels. (Fingers crossed!)