This is not a review of “Oculus” because I consider myself one of the worst reviewers on the net. Instead this is a quick of cataloguing of fears exploited in the film that we horror writers might want to consider for future abuse.
Spoilers abound, so those who care should stop here now. As to the title: all it took was one shot of the weighted boat anchor suspended from the ceiling with an mechanical release to know that it would be fired before the end of the third act and that someone besides the Evil Artifact would be on the receiving end.
Before I go into my Fear Catalogue, a quick comment. “Oculus” is an ideal independent horror film. Not perfect, it does tend to run a bit long for the content, but an ideal starter film for a low-budget production team. With less than ten primary roles and only a half-dozen locations, it puts its efforts into script, editing and acting.
I also applaud the film for touching on a broad range of fears that should all be hot buttons for the suburban young demographic audience. Obviously, Fear of Death, Dismemberment and Insanity are classics used by most horror flicks. Fear of Homicidal Parents, though done before, added terrifying sense of powerlessness to the younger siblings battle with Pure Evil. I was most impressed with what the mirror did to Katie Sackhoff’s housewife character: Loss of Look and Spousal Betrayal have been done before, but I have yet to see a C-Section scar split open and start to bleed. While I’m sure the middle-aged mom demographic is not big on horror films, I would like to think their teen-aged children might dread those images going through Mom’s mind just before she tries to strangle them in the living room.