tek's rating:

Oculus (R)
Bloody Disgusting; Dread Central; IMDb; Relativity; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; Hulu; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

So, this movie is both supernatural and psychological horror, and I think it does remarkably well with both aspects, but particularly the latter. It begins when Tim Russell is released from a psychiatric hospital upon turning 21. He reunites with his 23-year-old sister, Kaylie (Karen Gillan), who has been obsessed with a certain mirror for the past eleven years. The film deftly flashes between scenes set in the present and ones set when Tim and Kaylie were 10 and 12. The mirror was an antique that had been purchased by their father, Alan, when he and his wife Marie (Katee Sackhoff) and their two children moved to a new home. In the present, we learn that Kaylie's job has given her access to the mirror, which she's been tracking for years, and now she wishes to destroy it. But she also has an elaborate plan to make a video document about the mirror's long history of bestowing horrifying fates upon its owners, over the centuries, while also trying to draw out the entity that supposedly possesses the mirror, to prove that it's haunted. Her plan is also meant to keep her and her brother safe throughout the night, while the filming goes on... though considering this is a horror movie, it can reasonably be assumed that no matter how well thought-out and elaborate Kaylie's plans, the two of them will never truly be safe.

As for Tim, he's spent the past eleven years working with his therapist to reject the idea of anything supernatural having to do with the mirror, or the reason he was in the hospital. We soon learn that Kaylie and Tim's father had killed their mother, and Tim subsequently killed their father. After that, Kaylie had grown up in foster care, while Tim was hospitalized. (It kind of amazes me that Kaylie managed to avoid the same fate for so many years, but at least she hadn't killed anyone.) Now, he tries to convince Kaylie she's wrong about what happened when they were kids, but her faith in her memory of events is unshakable. And of course, Tim eventually comes to realize she's right. Throughout all of this, we see flashbacks of the events that led up to the double homicide, and it truly is chilling. As are the events that transpire on the night the siblings spend in their old house in the present, with the mirror.

Beyond that, I don't really want to reveal any more of the plot, but I found the intertwining plots very compelling, and I really felt for Kaylie and Tim, both as kids and as adults. I do think the end... while horrifying... isn't really the end, because there must be evidence that would mitigate certain circumstances... but I can't really say more than that without spoiling anything. Such mitigation would be anticlimactic, anyway. It's probably best that it ended where it did. Still, everything that came before the end was deeply disturbing, in a really great way. (Great for a movie, of course, not for real life.)

psychological horror index
supernatural horror index