User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 157 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 157

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  1. Apr 25, 2014
    10
    After seeing oculus it was one of the greatest scary movie ever . the bad thing was the ending it really sucked . Know were on the edge of are seats and the thing are minds is "what the hell is gonna happen next ". Grade A+
  2. Apr 11, 2014
    8
    Oculus is one of the horror films that has a strong plot and an interesting premise to grind in for 105 minutes. Over watching this, I find it scary and very eerie in terms of atmosphere and chilling actions. It's one of the must-sees for this month. You will find it great.
  3. Apr 12, 2014
    8
    When most people hear the term "scary" these days, their mind instantly snaps to the thought of them being forced into shock by the ever-so expected jump scare. For those who are expecting such; meet Oculus, a movie which takes that expectation and chokes it into submission. Sure there are a couple jump scares implemented [none that caught me, sadly], but this is more of a psychological horror movie that requires you to use your brain to get the full effect. That's right: you're going to have to use your mind to enjoy this movie, and if you can't do that, you'd might as well see something else. Rio 2 also released today, if you needed a suggestion. Anyways...

    Oculus will make you think, bend your thoughts, freak you out a bit, then make you think some more, which is definitely something I'd like to see more often within horror media. It'd be nice if more of it didn't just scare me with freaky monster designs, or jump scares, then make me think "I wonder if that thing will move" or **** it's been quiet for too long... There's a scare coming." the whole time. Wondering if what was happening during the entire film was real or fake really hit it off for me, and the ending, ooh~, that ending, was definitely one of the better ones I've seen from the genre in quite some time.

    So is this movie actually scary? That depends on the kind of person you are. Is it "The scariest film since The Conjuring?" Hell no. That movie just about gave me a heart attack. However, Oculus is a great movie that does 'scary' in a way that feels more like how terrifying it is when you're about to finish a puzzle but can't find the last piece, than how terrifying it is when someone jumps at you from the shadows.
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  4. Apr 11, 2014
    7
    While there are moments of horror tropes you’ve certainly seen before — the haunted mirror, the family slowly driven to violence by a menacing force — ‘Oculus’ proves that the devil is in the details. Quite literally.
  5. Apr 11, 2014
    8
    Oculus is probably one of the creepiest movies I have seen in a long time and it disgusted me in some parts...in a good way. If you're a horror fan then this is a must see for you, Although I do recommend that if you do not like gore at all, that you avoid this film.
  6. Apr 12, 2014
    7
    The suspense in Oculus is created by never allowing the audience (or the characters) to know what is real and what is hallucination. I thought the film was well-acted, but the plot was not very strong and sometimes the action was much too hectic. I was not bored, but the film did not deliver the scares than some less well-made and original horror films do (example: The Purge). Sinister, which I think is a far better film than Oculus, is both well-made and delivers more shocks and shivers, even when I’ve watched it a several times on cable (without commercials) after seeing it in the theater. So I would say Oculus is an interesting film for horror fans like myself to see once, but it is not very memorable and I guessed the ending long before the end of the film. Expand
  7. Apr 25, 2014
    7
    Despite being heavy on tension instead of scares, Oculus never stops generating new ideas on the way up to the end, with a mind bending premise, complex build up with jumps back and fourth in time, and a distinctive ending, Oculus is a memorable film for generations to come.
  8. May 20, 2014
    0
    The movie is extremely slow and builds up to 10 minutes of disappointment at the end. What happens to the main character at the end is utter nonsense, she never trusted the mirror but conveniently at the end she trusts it. I honestly wanted my money back. You can not paint a character to hate something the entire movie (her entire life) and then change that character completely at the end to fit your story arc. It felt cheap and made the movie even worse. Expand
  9. Apr 13, 2014
    8
    The success of the film rests heavily on the acting ability and presence of the two actresses playing Kaylie - Karen Gillan and Annalise Basso. They do an outstanding job. Rory Cochrane & Katee Sackhoff, two actors that I've liked in prior roles, are really secondary here. Beyond the Kaylies, what truly drives the movie is the sound design and score. Wow, were they powerful. The trailer for this film makes it look just like every other of these creepy, gothic-style films from the last couple of years, but it's got a stripped down, clean feel to it that makes it unique and justifies the metascore. If only the dude behind me in the theater didn't sound like he was about to cough up a lung for most of the film, I might have enjoyed it even more. Expand
  10. Apr 12, 2014
    6
    Director Mike Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard expand on their original 30-minute short film about a lethal piece of furniture "Oculus: Chapter 3" to a feature-length film. While it's a cut above the usual paranormal thriller, its 105 minute runtime doesn't dramatically improve on its mysterious element and it falls short on dread and tension. While "Oculus" slowly develops an unsettling story that cleverly undermines an age-old horror-film cliché, it's never quite as scary or as memorable as one might have hoped.

    After shooting his father and spending years in psychiatric care, Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites), reunites with his sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan), who claims that an antique mirror in their father's study was what destroyed their family, as well as the families of many owners before them. Tim reluctantly agrees to help Kaylie document the mirror's effects, but all goes awry when it begins to play with their perceptions-intermingling past and present, memory and reality, and forcing them to witness again their parents' violent relationship, with devastating results.

    What's unique about "Oculus" is its structure, which cuts back and forth between Tim and Kaylie in 2012 and their experiences 10 years earlier. Flanagan daringly cross cuts between flashbacks and the present, and even sometimes unities the two storylines in the same shot. Flanagan uses the back story to inform the audience of the details of how this started, while at the same time using it to terrorize Tim and Kaylie, who aren't quite sure if what they are seeing -- and doing -- is real or not.

    Flanagan creates a number of eerie visual parallels between the past and present, but eventually the slow-burn suspense sequences and sudden shocks become increasingly repetitive. Throughout the film's slow build-up, Flanagan effectively incorporates some creepy images and the film convincingly earns its frights the old-fashioned way. However, the third act offers an escalation in action accompanied with a scene of shock that doesn't intensify or enhance its predictable, lackluster finale. To his credit, Flanagan takes a dubious premise further than most could. That being said, next time just smash the damn mirror.
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  11. Jun 7, 2014
    9
    With mind-twist plot and brilliant visual structure, Oculus is easily the best horror film since The Conjuring and the best psychological horror since the phenomenal of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
  12. Apr 21, 2014
    8
    An interesting twist on a genre begging for an interesting twist. Two distinct story lines of two siblings horrored past and attempt to confront and resolve that horror in the present. As the story progresses the two story lines become more and more intertwined and the resulting film is an often creepy and scary as it unfolds from the eyes of this girl and boy both as children and grown to adulthood. It centers around a haunted mirror whose influence affects all around it. Seamless transitions from one time to the next keep you on the edge of your seat and the whole time the mirror has us doubting our own eyes. Horror done well with excellent performances all around. Definitely one of my favorites over the last several years. Expand
  13. Apr 12, 2014
    8
    This is scary, well acted, and well written. My only gripe is that it probably should have been a standard 90-95 minute run time instead of 110 or so as it is. ***Minor spoilers*** This movie has convincing and disturbing portrayals of family violence, anger, discord and fear. You may get upset if you've experienced these things in your own life because these are very accurate depictions of children in fear of their own parents. Otherwise the scares are there and this is a seriously malevolent entity that destroys lives at its leisure. The pace is deliberate, the gore is judicious, and the ending banishes all hope of happiness. Expand
  14. Sep 3, 2014
    9
    Gee whiz! A horror movie that does not insult your intelligence. There are a few thump/bump moments and a couple of shock-in-your-face scenes, but overall "Oculus" has a plot that actually tells a satisfying story. Things happen for a reason. The movie is not exactly subtle, but it is certainly not the shear nonsense of so many recent horror movies. The Blu-Ray DVD came out today. See it!
  15. Jun 24, 2014
    10
    Great atmosphere, acting, camerawork, writing, special effects, etc., I could go on. The bottom line is that this is the kind of "horror" movie that I diligently wait for. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. If you want the classic campy horror film, go find yourself a copy of Saw or The Hills Have Eyes. If however, you are craving something a little smarter, a little less obvious, and a little more evil, look no further. Expand
  16. Apr 16, 2014
    3
    Oculus is one of horror films which have only one reason to see and reason is amazing Redhead Karen Gillan. Remember, Karen Gillan and no other reason.
    Every few minutes - flashback, maybe you are right that is new way to make horror movie, but I think it is new way to confuse. Worst movie I saw in that genre.
  17. Apr 19, 2014
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Oculus was hard to follow between their past and present and I think that the ending wasn't good. Other than that every thing else was alright. Usually in horror movies something good happens at the end, but not in this one Expand
  18. Sep 2, 2014
    9
    "Oculus" is a very well-made horror film. It relies on a dark atmosphere rather than blood or jump scares, and the mirror is quite interesting and disturbing. The way the story is told, the past and the present being told at the same time and eventually interconnecting towards the end, is pretty cool, but it becomes somewhat confusing in the third act when the past and the present are blended together. It's overall a very satisfying, enjoyable, and interesting movie, and I highly recommend it. Expand
  19. May 15, 2014
    8
    Oculus is a movie full of atmosphere and rhythms. As directed by Mike Flanagan, there's a steady building undercurrent of dread at its core, something that works so gradually you forget how silly the initial premise is. Kaylie (a fun Karen Gillan) takes killing the eponymous mirror seriously, but she's full of wit and joy so it doesn't hang as needless portentousness on the audience. Tim (Brendon Thwaites), her brother, is the voice of reason that actually manages to goose the movie with some moments of genuine curiosity (is it the mirror that's crazy or them? It's actually an impressive feat that Flanagan makes you buy that these characters could indeed be crazy, and not just being used as unnecessary plot padding).

    Edited flawlessly (also by Mike Flanagan), cutting between past and present on scenes that feel natural, all while building to a surreal and sustained climax of unease and terror. Even if it is a bit of letdown (the filmmaking makes you think you are watching something just a tad more exciting than it really is. It hits very familiar beats on its way to a predictable ending).

    What's ultimately most impressive is that this movie full of unease and steady movements, and plot and character development (the movie casually asks questions about perception and reality, especially within the context of marriage; a point which Katee Sackhoff in particular helps drive home), and not based on any existing property, while also having an R rating (and not a very hard one at that; which is a compliment, evoking more like last year's ) got a nationwide release. It's too bad it didn't do better at the box office, but the mere fact this exists as a theatrical movie is a good thing.

    The Newton Brothers did the score, and while it's not a very diverse or far reaching score, it is one that operates on the same level as the movie's pacing. The repeated use of snyth-y sounding "wuhb wuhbs" was genuinely hypnotizing and worked extremely well within the context of the movie.
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  20. Apr 17, 2014
    4
    A young brother and sister survive the effects of a haunted mirror only to relive the evil 11 years later. The concept had potential and the cross-cutting between their present and past has promise. Unfortunately, the pacing drags, the scares are minimal and the whole thing falls apart.
  21. Sep 7, 2014
    6
    A film that literally makes you crazy, trying to reveal what happened and happened in the silent House away from nothing and close to everything (the typical atmosphere of American terror). Characters maybe fell short in personality and to say confusing conclusion; These two factors caused a slump in my score. But that does not desmerita it cause me a couple of real screams.
  22. Sep 5, 2014
    7
    Perhaps not the scariest horror film, but it is one of the most original. It's atmosphere is filled with tension and uneasiness, and it's constantly playing with the fact that you, just like the characters, can't always believe what you see. That more than makes up for the lack of scares.

    It also helps that it's extremely well acted and has a great plot that will suck you in. It might
    not be all that scary in the end, but the way the twists and tricks up it's sleeve means it is one that messes with your mind. Trying to figure out what's real and how things are going to play out based on these illusions leads to a satisfying payoff with the ending. It's not perfect, but it stands next to The Conjuring as one of the best horror movies to come out in a long time. A must watch for genre fans. Expand
  23. Jul 31, 2014
    0
    Certainly not your typical paranormal horror film considering it actually has a plot and it does make you think through out. My biggest issue with out, and why I rated it so low, was that it was tough to get into. It was painfully slow and over acted through out, It really took a toll on you after a short while. It's still worth giving a shot but I simply did not care for it.
  24. Aug 30, 2014
    2
    I don't see the merits of this film. The pacing was way too slow, the time-frame jumps around from past to present and back too much, and it just has a '70s B-movie vibe to it. Waste of time.
  25. Sep 8, 2014
    5
    It kept me entertained most of the time but when it comes to be even remotely scary, it fails big time. However, the film is creative and makes for a unique horror movie.
  26. Sep 13, 2014
    7
    I was really impressed considering I didn't have much expectations. The story was interesting and never boring. Even more so, I felt the overall acting was strong. The movie was a nice surprise.
  27. May 26, 2014
    6
    Good enough to keep me entertained the whole time, but if your looking for big scares, this isn't the right movie. More of a messes-with-your-mind kinda movie.
  28. Apr 22, 2014
    3
    I really did not like this film. There wasnt any reason for anything to be happening. And while the idea of the events were taking place in two time periods at the same time for the same characters was a cool idea. It just fell flat on its face for this film. There was no reason for any off the events happening except some ghost in a mirror making the father do the things he did. Some people got killed, for some shock value, but this movie didnt scare me or make me feel anything for the characters one bit. Just an aweful expirience for me. Expand
  29. Apr 19, 2014
    6
    "Oculus"'s ending may leave a poor taste in your mouth, but the brilliant camera and narrative work at hand is undeniable, as well as some fantastic mythological world-building and use of tension.
  30. May 16, 2014
    3
    A predictable, thrillless, tiring, mess is less scary and more what the hell is going on. Where it lacks in scares makes up in set design. The poor dialogue, predictable story, and "saw it coming after the first 15 minutes" ending really lets you down once you leave.
  31. Jun 22, 2014
    6
    #sosa #Boring #weakScript #badActors No asusta , #goodPhoto buena fotografía . buuuu zzzzzz Es un copy paste mal hecho de películas de terror de culto. Espera a que salga en DVD
  32. Apr 23, 2014
    8
    Consensus: Oculus is not a film for everyone, a big part of the audience will hate it, and is a film that can only be enjoyed by smart people or true horror fans, Oculus is clever, different, well acted, complex, rare, and slightly confusing. (B+) 80/100

    REVIEW: First of all I want to say that i wait for Oculus about 4 months! (since the first trailer came out), I went to the cinema
    with very high expectations, and surprisingly this movie was better than I expected, I left the theatre quite pleased and very happy. Oculus is very strange and complex, this movie will not make you jump out of your seat and doesn't have lots of gore, but that doesn't mean that Oculus isn't scary, it has all the suspense, some gore and dread that is necessary in a horror movie, Oculus seems more like a Psychological-Thriller than horror movie.

    For me wasn't boring neither funny at all, but many people in the cinema were laughing and I found it very annoying. Yes! the script has a couple of jokes, but most of the film was serious, the film keeps all the tension and the suspense. Lots of people says that has a very slow start, but the film kept me entertained at any moment, Oculus is a slow burn film, also there's some drama and lengthy discussions between the siblings that I found it very interesting and intense. During the first half we can meet the characters and there are some scares, Kaylie (Karen Gillian) tells the whole story behind the mirror and we can see some disturbing images of the victims of the mirror. This part in the movie I found it very entertaining and interesting but the film never explains why the mirror cause all this deaths. But still remains a good movie.

    Oculus tells two stories at once, one that tells the story of Tim, Kaylie and their parents 10 years ago, and the other tells the story of Tim and Kaylie as adults trying to destroy the mirror. The script is excellent, it should be noted here that it's a very clever film that also develops issues like the adultery. The characters and the characters make smart decisions, they are not stupid, they're dealing with a "haunted mirror" the most logical solution here is break the damn mirror, but they are SMART they try again and again, but the damn mirror is indestructible!, the mirror has its own creepy organism of defense, and that's why i love Oculus it's so different and smart. The dialogue here isn't lazy is SOLID and realistic and the film makes you feel care about the characters.

    All the performances are excellent, Karen Gillian (Doctor Who, Guardians Of The Galaxy) does a great job playing the obsessed Kaylie. Just like Annalise Basso (New Girl) who plays the younger version of Kaylie, I found her performance extremely realistic. Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent, Snow White And The Huntsman) plays Tim and i want to say that in the final scene his performance was astonishing, Garrett Ryan (Insidious: Chapter 2) plays the younger version of Tim, I think that his performance was not as good as the others but still satisfactory. And finally the perfect couple Marie and Alan Russell played by Rory Cochrane (Argo) and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) damn, their performances are superb, especially Katee Sackhoff's performance during the whole film her acting looks so real, so perfect, I can't imagine another actress playing her character. Katee Sackhoff plays perfectly a mother worried about her husband's infidelity. And that's why I love Oculus because it touches issues of everyday's life to develops a clever story. This film is easily the best horror film of the year, and easily the best Blumhouse Production since Paranormal Activity. Oculus was edited and directed with love and care.

    Despite the great performances, dreadful atmosphere and rich narrative, Oculus presents so many problems in the final act, the film becomes very explicit, shows too much these "ghosts" or victims of the mirror with creepy white eyes, and the film becomes a bit silly and wierd, the last 30 minutes of the film were very confusing to me and the story was hard to follow. But the film quickly rises with a shocking, bloody and predictable ending. I am a big fan of this director (Mike Flanagan) years ago he directed an indie horror film called Absentia and i have to admit is better structured than Oculus, but both are great and both have similar characteristics like the soundtrack and both deal with psychological issues for example what is real and what is not, I highly recommend Absentia. Oculus and Absentia have similar soundtracks. The soundtrack was made by The Newton Brothers is an Electro-Pop frightening combination that fits perfectly with the film.

    Twitter: @MemoBosque Blogspot: www.memobosque.blogspot.mx
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  33. Aug 6, 2014
    7
    A surprisingly entertaining horror film throughout the entire movie. The creepy moments aren't only in the images but also in the guessing is this real or not. B+
  34. Apr 12, 2014
    5
    This is a tricky mirror and you will have to wait for 3 to 4 sequels to nail the damn thing. Hope Tim does not screw in the next one when he comes out of mental hospital after another 10 yrs (that means he'll be about 31 yrs played by Bradley Cooper).
  35. Aug 13, 2014
    8
    Nice horror movie. I give it an 8 because it does everything a good 'haunting' movie should, but has its own personality and identity. The director/writer does a good job mixing up the suspense and there are a lot good 'jumpy' moments. I honestly enjoyed the mysterious build up more than the climactic second half of the film. This is the first time I've seen Karen Gilliam in a leading role that didn't involve a TARDIS, and I was really impressed. Her character has a great personality, and she is very convincing when things get terrifying and surreal. Horror films have a bad record when it comes to sequels, but I think if the writing, directing, and acting stay at this level; the follow-up could be better than the original. Expand
  36. Jul 24, 2014
    8
    SCARED ME!,best horror film since the conjuring, tricky,gripping, tense,thrilling,a lot of scary moments, very entertaining horror film,good acting,stunning visuals make this film good, VERY GOOD SCARY HORROR MOVIE
  37. Jul 29, 2014
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Oculus is a fresh installation in the horror genre which has an original story, a great cast and a mix of past and present sequences. It has some great jump scares but in the whole the movie doesn't really want to scare, but to thrill and to have a twist ending. I honestly think that the writers were bored and couldn't find a better way to close the film as it leaves many questions and for sure there is not going to be a sequel and so everybody's question are never going to be answered.It had a great potential, but somewhere in the end it lost it.Could have been muuuuuuch better. Still is something original and a horror movie that needs your attention. Check it out! Expand
  38. Sep 16, 2014
    9
    I really don't understand the low reviews for this film. For a film in the horror genre, this is top notch. It was scary, well acted, and had a good storyline. I can think of all of about 5 or 6 horror movies that meet this criteria. This is not 12 years a slave people, so don't rate it on that basis!
  39. Sep 3, 2014
    1
    Nothing good for the expectatives, really a bad movie. i was waiting some intense and really scary scenes but pfff, this is a piece of crap, bad movie, bad history.... i will can fill this with all the bad but i dont want lose many time doing this.
  40. Apr 13, 2014
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Am I really the only one who thought that this film was really mediocre? Not only did it mess with my head to the point where I felt like I was about to get a headache, but it was also a complete mess! What started out as such a promising and interesting concept quickly went downhill as the film progressed. Flashbacks occurred occasionally at the beginning, but a little towards the halfway mark they got way carried away with them to the point where every 5 minutes it would go from the present to the past again. And if it wasn't confusing enough already, pretty soon they started intertwining the past and present with the younger versions of the two leads seeing themselves in situations from the present and vice versa. And just when you thought it couldn't get any more disappointing, the ending happens and needless to say, the ending really pissed me off! Much like last year's "The Purge" a great concept for a film was poorly executed. The case couldn't be any stronger with this film. Overall, a huge letdown for me. Expand
  41. Apr 25, 2014
    8
    Despite being heavy on tension instead of scares, Oculus never stops generating new ideas on the way up to the end, with a mind bending premise, complex build up with jumps back and fourth in time, and a distinctive ending, Oculus is a memorable film for generations to come.
  42. May 25, 2014
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Although it is good to a see an original horror movie, Oculus is very light on scares. There was a lot of potential here but it didn't come together. The switching between past and present is done poorly. The end is also very predicable. The film makers tried hard to produce an interesting movie... but it isn't. Not even Karen Gillan could save this movie. Expand
  43. Jul 25, 2014
    10
    Oculus no solo es una muy buena película de terror que impacta mientras avanza la película, si no que también logra un resultado eficaz, que, sin duda alguna, va a ser considerada como una de las mejores películas de terror del 2014.
  44. Jun 7, 2014
    10
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    Most inspirational character of the century so far, Dog. 11/10, would watch again.
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  45. Aug 12, 2014
    8
    The thriller was really scary so,i thought the movie would be one of the best horror movie in years.But, every scary things in the movie were in the trailer,so i was a little disappointed.But the movie does have some scary and unexpected things that were not shown in the trailer.
  46. Jun 23, 2014
    3
    This film could actually have been a decent one, if only the evil entity that the characters are fighting was actually beatable, but it's not and whatever they do to stop it inevitably fails becuase of the entity's peculiar power. I don't like it when there's no chance for the characters, it makes it all rather pointless. Also, the girl randomly decides to trust the entity towards the end, which makes no sense at all and this only happens because obviously whoever wrote this couldn't come up with anything better to end the story. Disappointing film. Expand
  47. Aug 21, 2014
    9
    Oculus is an outstanding horror flick, it has everything you care about in a horror movie with great family tension and musical score (style) that I love.
  48. Aug 6, 2014
    5
    This movie doesn't have the jump scares most thought it would have but it does have its moments. The way the movie is shown is very creative and makes it a unique horror movie. However, the ending seemed forced which made me and my friends feel annoyed when it was over. What could of been a great horror movie was ruined by the ending.
  49. Sep 4, 2014
    5
    Another typical no hope contemporary horror film where nobody wins-and everybody gets completely and utterly screwed beyond any hope of any victory whatsoever. Films like this might as well use hideous death metal soundtracks and offer the audience free suicide pills. These films are all made from 'formulas' as in all they think they need to make a good horror film is a young woman & a male of a similar age-and old house or seedy neighbourhood-plus satan. It makes it all work-in their minds. What you have here in this film is an ode to nihilism philosophy that I don't find very rewarding. I don't agree that victory isn't possible against evil but what these films say is victory against evil is unobtainable. Which creates psychological paralysis which can extend to physical paralysis-in the face of adversity. Expand
  50. Sep 14, 2014
    7
    I think it worth to rent it, the movie entertains very well, little bit confusing but it worth it, the ends sucks tho... And not veeeeeery scary, descent .
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Apr 14, 2014
    75
    For a horror movie, Oculus is surprisingly lean on the scares. It's more interested in playing tricks with perception and bending reality.
  2. 30
    One reason Oculus feels so talky and monotonous in spite of its tricky syntax is that the space itself isn’t charged with malignancy. And the monster doesn’t compensate — it’s dumb, blockish, inert. The mirror doesn’t have two faces. It barely has one.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Apr 11, 2014
    60
    Oculus is a time bomb of a psychological horror film.