Oculus is the latest big horror release to be causing a stir in cinemas.
When two children, Kaylie and Tim have a terrifying family incident take place in their home, it leaves them psychologically damaged.
Their father is accused of the murder of their mother following a chain of unusual and disturbing events and both are taken into care as a result.
However, memories of the ordeal and some research into a mysterious antique mirror that was present in the house soon leads an older Kaylie (Karen Gillan) to believe that supernatural forces ad a play in what happened.
After picking up her younger brother from a mental institution she proceeds to investigate the mirror using electronic equipment and his help.
What follows is a twisted and dizzying ordeal as the pair try to discover the truth about the mirror and the childhood events that had such a massive impact on their lives.
As the viewer is subjected to yet another horror underpinned by the destruction of the ‘perfect’ family it’s easy to assume that Oculus covering ground that is already too well trodden.
But writers Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard use numerous clever horror devices to create a film that is steeped in atmosphere, tension and scares, most of which have been used elsewhere numerous times before to varying levels of success.
It revolves around what is essentially a haunted house, it cleverly weaves from past to present, reality to illusion to create a surreal confusing environment and it has lots of nasty, wince-inducing helpings of gore.
Oculus is surprisingly effective at keeping the audiences attention, even though some of the film is a tad too predictable and familiar.
The cuts back and forth in time keep the story progressing at a steady rate and feed the viewer with facts that have value. They also serve to weave the story in confusing directions to give the sense of a maze-like imprisonment.
The ideas, particularly where the evil entity is concerned aren’t groundbreaking, but are certainly more convincing than a majority of their recent cinematic peers.
And although the lead characters are odd and aren’t overly easy to connect with, enough incentive is there to follow them on their nauseating, surreal journey.
Oculus may fast fade into mediocrity as time passes, but as far as 2014 goes, it’s probably the most entertaining major horror release of its kind this side of Frightfest.