Based on co-writer/director Mike Flanagan's acclaimed 2005 short film of the same name, Oculus may hit some of the same story beats, but Flanagan has no trouble expanding his 32-minute short into a 105-minute feature and maintaining the film's brooding and suspenseful atmosphere for its entire duration. Dispensing with the buildup that usually prefaces "cursed object" films, the movie wastes no time in introducing audiences to the mirror and the lore behind it. In fact, we learn everything we need to know about the history of the Lasser Glass early on, through Kaylie's terse monologue, rather than through the kind of drawn-out first and second act sequences that typify the genre. You can attribute that narrative decision to budgetary constraints, or you can call it efficient storytelling; but either way, it works, benefiting the story with a sleekness and an efficacy that's absent from some of its genre brethren.
4 out of 5. This was a refreshing take on the "cursed object" film. Depending on your opinion of the Paranormal Activity and Insidious films (personally, I'm a fan of the latter but not the former), you may be disuaded from seeing this (as it's being marketed as being from the producer of those films), but Oculus is nothing like them. It's genuinely creepy and completely immerses the viewer in its reality-bending storyline, with an ending that hits you like a punch to the gut.