Oculus (★★★★ Empire DVD/Blu Review)

OculusSquareAfter an outstanding debut, Absentia, writer-director Mike Flanagan returned to his attention-grabbing 2005 short Oculus: Part 3 – The Man with the Plan for his second feature, in which a slightly unhinged young woman (Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan, with an American accent as convincing as her big-screen presence) spirits away an antique mirror she believes caused the death of 45 people, including her mother, and proceeds to subject it to a rigorous series of experiments, warily observed by her brother (Brenton Thwaites), newly released from an insane asulym. The haunted-mirror device is hardly fresh, but Flanagan brings it up to date with a deftly-scripted, skilfully directed and terrifically acted horror film, managing to create a creeping sense of dread in inverse proportion to the apparent limitations of the locations and ‘possessed object’ premise.

EXTRAS The highlight here is the original 32 minute short film, which puts a man (Scott Graham) in the Karen Gillan role, and serves as an intriguing side dish to the main feature. A ten-minute ‘making of’ guided by Flanagan makes up for the absence of his commentary (present on the US edition), while the mostly forgettable deleted scenes include a wisely excised coda which would have over-egged the pudding.

FILM ★★★★



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