From its opening scene, it becomes apparent Oculus is of very sinister… MoreFrom its opening scene, it becomes apparent Oculus is of very sinister tone-one that continues until the film's shocking climactic finale. It is, at its core, a story about a brother and sister and the dark events of their youth that continue to haunt them. The film progresses slowly but develops with such intensity that when it is over, it is difficult to process the story as a whole.
Perhaps this is why many viewers are divided on whether or not, as a whole, Oculus is a good horror film. Comparisons may include Insidious and The Conjuring. However, Oculus is highly successful in originality by its well-executed style of filmmaking. By style, I mean the manner in which two storylines-a decade apart-with the same characters at their respective ages, are shown in the film. The stories eventually begin to intertwine, as do the characters. Confused yet?
Kaylie and Tim are siblings who viewed the brutal murder of their mother by their father and dealt with it in separate ways after the murder. Tim was sent to a mental facility for 11 years due to the events that occurred the night of the murder, while Kaylie lived a more normal, working life. Upon turning 21, Tim is picked up by Kaylie from the facility for now being of sane mind. She soon reveals to him that she has been investigating murders that have occurred in the past in connection to a mirror that hung in their home in their youth, and of course, she connects it to the death of their parents. While she believes the mirror possesses a demonically malignant presence, her brother is convinced their father killed their mother out of a fit of psychological mania. Kaylie, of course, thinks he's been brainwashed by shrinks.
Kaylie then reveals that she is conducting a recorded experiment by which she can prove the mirror holds supernatural abilities. As her project continues, both her and her brother become entranced or even possessed by the mirror, with difficulty differentiating reality from fiction. Now, cut to a scene of the siblings a decade earlier, moving into their house with their parents and putting up the same mirror in the same spot. The mirror has the same tendency for torment in the past as it does in the present.
As the two storylines come together, so do their violently gripping finales, all swirled into the same physical locations-this is accomplished by the fact that both storylines take place at the same home and with the intertwined use of both older and younger Kaylie and Tim.
Despite its cliché jump-scares and complicated storytelling, Oculus is a beautifully stylistic and sinister tale with a fervent build in tension. It is thoughtful and requires attention and reflection, a metaphor perhaps to the mirror itself. While I highly enjoyed this film, it exists primarily for the horrific enjoyment of genre fans.
ENEMY is an avant-garde throwback to psychological thrillers from the… MoreENEMY is an avant-garde throwback to psychological thrillers from the early Lynchian era, and that in itself is a great accomplishment.
At its core, it remains a suspenseful film about a dopperganger and the strange events enveloping the meeting and "friendship" of the two men, played with stunning cunningness by Jake Gyllenhaal. Furthermore, ENEMY excels above the normal pseudo-psychological drama it could have been in every possible way.
The film is immersed with symbolic thematic elements such as colorization--from natural to sepia to black and white to 30s style 35mm camera style. Imagery, objects, creatures--nothing is to be missed in ENEMY because everything has meaning.
ENEMY is an important and highly sophisticated statement on identity, society, and existential turmoil. It is artistically and intelligently layered and deserved ass the acclaim it has received. I fear, however, that the symbolic vitality of the film will lost on most viewers.
Only Lovers Left Alive is one of the best vampire films you will ever… MoreOnly Lovers Left Alive is one of the best vampire films you will ever see, and that's an understatement.
For a generation infused with generic, melodramatic vampirism plotlines, Only Lovers Left Alive stands apart with its captivating intellectuality, razor-sharp wit, and ingenious self-satire in regards to vampire mythology. It's darkly brooding, as any vampire film should be, but with intelligence, heart, and stunningly eerie cinematography.
To top it all off, Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, and Mia Wasikowska playing gorgeously macabre vampires makes this film one hell of an entertaining experience.