Trying to prove that someone was possessed by the devil when they did a bad thing is the kind of thing that generally only people in the movies do, and often not very convincingly. But a new film, Oculus, makes a creepy case for demonic interference even though the evidence is slight.
The story begins in present day with Tim (Brenton Thwaites) being released from a twelve-year stretch in a mental institution. The twenty-one-year-old was locked away at age nine after he gunned down his father (Rory Cochrane) who had just murdered his mother (Katee “Starbuck” Sackhoff).
His sister Kaylie (Karen “Dr. Who” Gillan), now a successful antiques dealer, lets him in on a family secret—she claims dear old dad was possessed by a demonic spirit that lives in a mirror. She has the ornate old looking glass and needs Tim’s help to destroy it.
Working in a tried and true supernatural genre—devil possession movies are a dime a dozen—director Mike Flanagan manages to find a new way to inject some life into the story of a haunted piece of furniture. Weaving together Tim and Kaylie’s past and present into one seamless whole, he flip flops through time, telling the story from the perspectives of the characters at different ages. It adds intensity to a tale that isn’t too far off from the terrible Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (the story of a ghostly lamp).
The horror elements work because this is a character driven story and while there are blood and guts aplenty it is the intensity of the story and the performances that will stay with you.