Oculus (2013)

Over the years, director Mike Flanagan has shown that he has a deft hand at horror, able to coax terrific performances out of his casts and displaying a noticeable ability to elicit scares from rather convoluted concepts (such as “Before I Wake” and “Ouija: Origin of Evil”). Those same strengths are on display here in “Oculus,” but for some reason I was left indifferent to the proceedings. Maybe it’s that there’s so much going on all at once, or maybe it’s that the movie’s structure (which plays around with timelines and alternating realities) is clever but also confusing and distracting. Either way, my main take-away from this effort were the performances by juvenile actors Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan, who tear into their roles with gusto and skill. Most horror fans seem to enjoy this one, so it’s likely to satisfy genre aficionados.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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