Monday, April 11, 2016

Amy Pond vs Kara Thrace, or Thoughts on Oculus

I’m starting a new movie poster 
series, here’s Karen Gillan in Oculus.
Scottish actor Karen Gillan, who you know as the girl who waited for a certain doctor, made her American movie debut in Oculus (2013) a supernatural thriller masquerading as a psychological thriller about an antique haunted mirror.  It’s an interesting concept with built-in sequels, all the franchise has to do is follow the mirror’s owners and tell the same story over and over again.
And the story concerns childhood trauma, and how two adult siblings have dealt with the shared burden of the memory of their parents’ murder-suicide.  The younger brother, played by Brenton Thwaites, is recently released from a psychiatric hospital and worries about his sister Kaylee’s sanity, as portrayed by your favorite BBC redhead with a shaky American accent, Karen Gillan. The primary tension between them is rendered impotent, as the audience walks into the theater accepting Kaylee’s supernatural explanation.
There’s an abundance of contemplative gazing in non-haunted mirrors to establish mood and psychological tone before we get to the scary one.  The mirror alters realities, plays with your perceptions and makes you hurt yourself and others.  The mythology isn’t fully developed or explained, not necessarily a bad thing.  The only explanation needed is smashing the mirror will break the spell, but that’s harder than you would imagine.
There’s a nice presentation back/story narrated by Kaylee on history of the mirror that is almost more interesting than the actual movie.  She sets up cameras and experiments to document the mirror’s effect on her and her brother, along with houseplants (the mirror wilts houseplants as it sucks the life out of everything within its influence) and the movie veers into found footage/Paranormal Activity territory.
Kattee Sackhoff, who you remember from the Battlestar Galactica reboot as Starbuck plays the unlucky mom with the exact same shade of red hair, along with Annalise Blasso (“teacup humans”) from True Blood as young Kaylee for the grisly flashbacks.

Written and directed by Mike Flanagan, Oculus is uneven but original and stands out in a cinematic landscape littered with remakes, sequels and comic book movies.  And it’s a treat to see Karen Gillan on the big screen.

my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.