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.
Richard’s “Canada AM” interview with “Delivery Man” co-star Cobie Smulders.
“It’s a blown up version of something that happens in real life,” she says. “You had a relationship when you were younger and all of a sudden a woman contacts the father and, ‘Oh, by the way, you have a seven year old.’ Obviously there is room for comedy there but everyone wants him to step up and be the hero and watch him do that journey.”
“We were so lucky to have [original director] Ken Scott. He did it so well the first time that he was able to do it a second time and have those same sentiments in it and spoken in English.”
At one point in “Delivery Man,” a remake of the much-loved French film “Starbuck,” David Wozniak’s (Vince Vaughn) father (Andrzej Blumenfeld) says, “If you can live with his countless faults you’ll have some marvelous times.”
David is a sweet tempered, kind oaf who never seems to make the right decision. That’s a fault that has landed him $80,000 in debt, desperate for cash and, as if that wasn’t enough, he’s also the biological father of over 500 children. To say he brings some baggage with his good nature is an understatement along the lines of calling Miley Cyrus show-offy.
Vaughn subs in for French star Patrick Huard in this almost shot-for-shot remake of the original film. He’s a man-child who, “everyday finds new ways to push the limits of incompetence,” but learns commitment and responsibility after discovering that his sperm bank donations unwittingly made him the father of 533 children, 142 of whom have filed a class action lawsuit to learn their biological father’s real identity.
“Delivery Man” features a much more low key Vaughn than we’ve seen lately, and that’s a good thing. His slick motor mouth act got tired around the same time the housing bubble burst but with very few exceptions—Into the Wild being one of them—he’s been coasting through movies like “Fred Claus,” “Couple’s Retreat” and (worst of all) “The Watch.”
But he’s not a one trick pony and “Delivery Man” reminds us that there is more to him than verbal dexterity and sardonic wit.
He hands in a charming performance with all the rough edges buffed away in a movie that is unabashedly sweet—some might say corny—but there is no cynicism here and that is the movie’s main strength.
The new comedy Starbuck has a story line which sounds ripped from the headlines.
Recently the New York Times reported on a sperm donor who has fathered 150 children with more on the way. The Times was slightly behind the times, however, according to director and writer Ken Scott. “We’ve known of these cases and have been telling people and everyone says, ‘Yeah, come on, this is not possible,’” he says.
“It is possible. It is actually happening and not in one case but in several throughout the world. People don’t believe me but they believe the New York Times. As if they have the truth, but not me!”
From the film Bon Cop, Bad Cop, star Patrick Huard plays David, an irresponsible Montrealer whose “donations,” under the pseudonym Starbuck, unwittingly made him the father of 533 children, 142 of whom have filed a class action lawsuit to learn their biological father’s real identity.
Through his “kids” he learns commitment and responsibility.
“It would have been impossible for me to do this part [before I had kids of my own],” Huard says.
“I really think I was preparing for this part for years and that’s why it feels so natural. Probably not even four years ago could I have done this role. I was ready and ripe for that part now. That’s why it is so magical for me.
“When I read the script that’s the feeling I had. I am the age of the character now, and I have that feeling — that I want to commit.
“When I was even 30 I wasn’t committed in every part of my life as I am now. When I read the script, I thought, not only do I want to do this, but I want to do it now.
“I am ready.”
He was ready to make the film but anxious to try something different. “I changed my natural rhythm,” says Huard. “I wasn’t even moving at the same pace I move in life.”
“The way the film is structured his character is in every scene,” says Scott. “So I needed a well crafted actor, talented, charismatic and funny. Patrick was the right guy.
“I think what’s interesting is that Patrick was a natural choice because he has all these qualities but he is playing a character very different from what he’s done before.
“That was very exciting, that feeling that we are doing something new.”