Director: Mike Flanagan
Stars: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, James Lafferty, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan
Release date: April 18
The best new horror movie I saw in 2014? Hands down, Mike Flanagan's Oculus, which premiered as part of the Toronto International Film Festival's raucous Midnight Madness program. And come this April, those who weren't lucky enough to be in Toronto for the film's unveiling will see the greatness for themselves.
Knee-jerk comparisons can be made to Insidious, but, frankly, Oculus is far more innovative than James Wan's hit spookhouse picture. Following up his little-seen but highly impressive 2011 debut, Absentia, writer-director Flanagan makes a considerable leap forward as a filmmaker here, in a supernatural chiller that introduces horror fans to the genre's first-ever mirror antagonist. Yes, the villain in Oculus is an antique, haunted mirror that has the ability to warp reality, physically bring traumatic memories back into the present, and manipulate its victims into committing murder.
The tone is aggressively dark and bleak, the performances (namely from Dr. Who veteran Karen Gillan) are airtight, and script is an unsettling and intricately woven labyrinth of psychological horror. Don't be surprised if, a year from now, Oculus tops critics' lists of the 2014's best horror movies. —Matt Barone