Sunday, August 31, 2014

3 Short Paragraphs: Oculus

2013, Mike Flanagan (Absentia) -- download

It kind of bugs me that, now, when they do flashbacks to 11 years ago, it is not the distant past but soon after I arrived in Toronto. So, pretty recent to me. Still the current phase of my life. But in the movies, it all looks pretty ancient. Yes, old. Ugh. Clothes dated, styles dated and they appear to be living in houses and driving cars from when they were just invented.  Was 2003 really all that different from now? I agree that 1974 was probably very different looking than 1984. But has all that much changed since 2000, beyond technology? Is not noticing a sign you are getting *sigh* old?

Oculus takes place now and 11 years ago, Now with siblings Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim reconnecting when he is released from an asylum. He was there since Then. And Then is the two as kids, with their mom (Katee Sackoff) and dad (Rory Cochrane).  The Now kids need to destroy a mirror that killed their parents and ruined their lives. The Then kids experience the purchase of the mirror and how things go really really wrong. We get both views through a decent merging of realities, memories blending and bumping into now. That is the mirror, with its nasty way of making you not quite experience what really is going on, until you die or kill or both.

There is a typical trope here, with the Artifact of Doom haunting the family, making dad all obsessed and abusive while mom becomes obsessed in her own housewifey way. The kids are pretty much left alone by the mirror and/or the haunting ghost image that occasionally appears from it. So, dad kills mom, Tim kills dad, Tim gets locked away, both grow up. Kaylie spends the decade planning how to destroy the mirror, and record all the details for people to see, so she is not seen as plain crazy like her brother. The trouble is that her plan is so convoluted, she doesn't see when the mirror begins to fuck with her, making her think she is doing things against it, when really they are doing things against themselves. Its rather inventive but I was disappointed that Kaylie never got the idea the mirror could derail her plan so badly, that she never even considered that it already was. So, the moral is that you never try to inventively kill an Artifact of Doom --- you work with a bunch of people to blow the fuck up, from afar, out the range of Evil.