Oculus

  • Review Date: April 9, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Outstanding horror flick has gore, children in peril.
  • Review Date: April 9, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Though the characters quickly get themselves in too deep (and resort to stealing, lying, and violence), Oculus has a very strong, interesting sibling relationship. Yes, they argue, but they also clearly care for each other and try to help and protect each other. But in the flashback sequences, the younger children are in peril, and their situation looks pretty hopeless.

Positive role models

While the brother and sister characters are well-written and interact in realistic ways -- working together, fighting, and trying to help each other -- overall, their behavior in the film isn't very admirable. Their plan requires stealing, lying, and resorting to violence and destruction.

Violence

Several very bloody, gory scenes. A man rips off his fingernails. A woman accidentally bites into a light bulb (she thinks it's an apple). A woman's scar turns into a bloody, gaping wound. In one scene, a woman shows photographs of grisly deaths and crime scenes. A gun is used. But the main issue here is in the flashbacks, showing two younger children in peril. They're neglected, ignored, tricked, trapped, and eventually attacked -- though viewers do know that they both lived to grow up.

Sex

Both a married couple and an engaged couple are shown kissing. A mom wears a sheer nightie around the house.

Language

"S--t" is heard a few times, and "f--k" is used a couple of times. "Damn," "hell," "Jesus," and "oh my God" are also heard a few times.

Consumerism

Apple computers are shown during a scene featuring surveillance equipment.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

An upset mother drinks glass after glass of wine while her kids eat dinner.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Oculus is an outstanding horror film about a haunted mirror. Expect several gory scenes that are designed to induce squirms (including photos of grisly deaths and crime scenes, fingernails being ripped off, etc.); there are also some flat-out scary images that aren't meant for the faint of heart. But while there's plenty of blood in the movie, its real focus is on story and characters (the siblings are interesting, albeit not always admirable). Language is somewhat strong, with a few uses of "s--t" and one possible use of "f--k" (spoken quietly during a noisy scene). There's a scene of heavy drinking, some minor kissing between couples, and some Apple computers shown. The movie is likely to be a must-see for horror buffs, and many teens will want to see it, too.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

After 11 years, Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) -- who killed his father as a boy -- is released from a psychiatric hospital. His sister, Kaylie (Karen Gillan), immediately asks him to participate in a ritual: to help destroy the creepy old mirror that she thinks caused all the trouble. At first, it appears as if Kaylie may be crazy, but it soon becomes apparent that the mirror does have the power to make people see things. Before long, the siblings are flashing back to the events of their childhood, when the mirror drove their mother (Katee Sackhoff) into hysterics and turned their father (Rory Cochrane) into a homicidal maniac. Will Tim and Kaylie be able to tell reality from nightmare -- and survive?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Creepy mirrors have been featured in horror movies plenty of times before, but none of them have been anything quite like OCULUS. It immediately turns your expectations upside via the character of Tim, a troubled but cured soul with blood on his hands. The question of whether he'll kill again quickly becomes moot as his old bond with his sister re-asserts itself. The characters are strong and interact in vivid ways, and they remain the movie's anchor; they're no horror movie amateurs, and they struggle to stay on top of the scares.

But Oculus' real weapon is its flashbacks, which aren't specifically used as flashbacks but rather as illusions and nightmares forced upon the characters by the mirror's evil. They fold over into reality as younger and older versions of the same characters regard one another, and it's clear that they shouldn't be taken literally. This is a breakthrough for director Mike Flanagan, and (apologies for the pun) a most reflective horror movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Oculusviolence and gore. Which scenes were meant to make you squeal and squirm, and which had a more visceral effect? What's the difference between these moments? Do bloody scenes make a movie more frightening?

  • How scary is Oculus compared to other horror movies you've seen? What's scary about it? How did you feel about the scenes with the young children in peril? Did it make a difference knowing that they were only flashbacks or nightmares and that the children survive to grow up?

  • What's the relationship between the central brother and sister like? Is it realistic? Is it stereotypical? If you have siblings, how does it compare to your relationship with them?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 11, 2014
DVD release date:August 5, 2014
Cast:Karen Gillan, Katee Sackhoff, Brenton Thwaites
Director:Mike Flanagan
Studio:Relativity Media
Genre:Horror
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:terror, violence, some disturbing images and brief language

This review of Oculus was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byedwwid December 24, 2014
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Oculus, great for mature 13 year olds but nothing less

In the movie Oculus there is a mirror from ancient London called the Lesser glass. A family in the year 2003 buys it and they hang it inside the office. The father goes to work and the glass starts messing with him. First he has a bandaid on because he was biting his nails and they started bleeding. He took the bandaid off but it appeared back on even tighter. Driven by the glass he got a staple remover and took his whole nail off, then continued doing his work on the computer. Later that day his young daughter Kaylee peakes in the mirror and sees a mysterious woman standing next to him. Later the mother goes in to confirm it and inside his notes “Marisol” is written all over. The father is addicted to the mirror and goes insane causing him to grab the already insane mother from looking into the mirror and chaining her to the wall. She eats glass and other insane stuff. The father tells the children “She is sick and they can’t go in.” That only works a couple of days until the daughter gets the nerve to go see. The father gets angry and sends them to their room. The next day Marisol appears in her real form. A blank figure with shining bright eyes next to their father. The children come in and see her and she quickly vanishes and reappears in front of their faces making them run upstairs. Later the daughter and son see the father and all the ghosts of the people the glass killed stand behind them. The father grabbed a gun and pointed it at the daughter’s head, the son grabs it and shakingly points it at him. He regains his sanity and says in a hurt voice “run” and bringing the sons hand holding the gun to his head, he pulls the trigger. They run outside. As all of this is happening the now adults of the children are checking out the home trying to get proof the father wasn’t the murderer. The mirror was. The mirror cut the power and tricked them for example, the daughter had an apple and was replacing light bulbs and the mirror turned the apple into a light bulb, but really it was still an apple and she realized she was hallucinating when the son came in and asked her what she was doing. Later in the end the daughter walks to the room, but her childhood office and sees her real mother in the mirror, she goes to hug her and she embraces her and the son can’t see the daughter because of the mirror’s tricks and goes to hit the kill switch, which Is an anchor attached to a timer meant so smash the mirror, but what happens is that the anchor drops and impales the daughter’s head. The mirror needs life to get energy and the son getting tricked into killing the daughter is what gave it its energy. The son ran outside to the police who dragged him to a police car, the scene switched off between him as a child and adult yelling, “The mirror did it!” He looks back to see the father, the mother, and his sister standing in the window embracing as a real family. The moral is that the Lesser Glass will always kill someone no matter what. I would recommend this for mature 13 year olds, or anyone who loves a good scare. The suspense was there, from the demonic mother crawling down the stairs, to Marisol appearing in the doorway. If you aren’t mature wait until you are 14-15 although it is rated R just for disturbing images.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byJimmy brew November 25, 2014
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Truly terrible horror movie has scary plot and difficult story

My rating:R for violence and some terror
Teen, 15 years old Written byrave day November 3, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Scariest thing about this is all the good reviews it gets

Sex 2/10 Violence 6/10 Language 4/10

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