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Boon Chan
Friday, Apr 25, 2014

Showbiz

Shocking end to horror tale

The Straits Times | Boon Chan | Friday, Apr 25, 2014

Actress Karen Gillan (L) and actor Matt Smith arrive at the screening of Relativity Media's "Oculus" at TLC Chinese 6 Theatres on April 3, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

SINGAPORE -Oculus gives audiences characters to root for and its abrupt ending is no cop-out Review Horror

OCULUS (NC16)

103 minutes/Opens tomorrow

The story: Eleven years ago, siblings Tim, 10, and Kaylie, 13, were traumatised by the horrific deaths of their parents in a new house. Now, released from a psychiatric hospital, Tim (Brenton Thwaites) wants to move on, but Kaylie (Karen Gillan) is convinced that an antique mirror housing a demonic presence is responsible for what happened. With her brother's help, she plans to outwit the spirit and destroy the mirror.

Made on a paltry budget, a horror flick goes on to scare up healthy takings at the American box office.

It is a formula that Blumhouse Productions has honed to perfection with the Paranormal Activity, Insidious and Sinister franchises.

Its hot streak continues with Oculus, which it made with Intrepid Pictures and WWE Studios. The movie had a budget of US$5 million (S$6.3 million) and has earned more than US$21 million at the American box office after two weekends.

As opposed to more generic fare, there is an attempt to give the audience characters to root for and a little more complexity to the storytelling.

Director and co-writer Mike Flanagan splits the action between the two periods. Sometimes, it is clear which period it is in and, at other times, it seems to be the older characters regressing to their helpless and frightened younger selves in the present - under the influence of a mirror.

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