It's been a long time since we had a good haunted mirror movie. In fact, you have to look back to 1974 and the largely forgotten anthology horror film "From Beyond the Grave" with David Warner to find a decent English language one. Yeah, there was "Mirrors" a while back, but that wasn't the best and it wasn't about a single haunted mirror.
"Oculus" is about one, scary mirror. Borrowing liberally from "The Amityville Horror" legend, the film has a family homicidally self destruct due to a haunting. Then, the grown children try to remedy the past by "killing" the evil that destroyed their household.
Like a lot of great horror films these days, "Oculus" is about a family under siege by evil. The movie surprisingly well acted, particularly by Karen Gillan as the adult daughter-turned-angry-ghostbuster hellbent on proving her brother is not guilty of murdering their father as a child -- because the family mirror made him do it!
The movie follows both the events of the present day, when brother and sister reunite at their former home to re-confront the evil mirror that haunted their family more than a decade ago, and events from their childhood, when the mirror drove both of their parents insane and eventually forced them to commit patricide.
The film is best during its first two thirds, then it starts to wobble under the limits of its budget. The ending is chilling, albeit predictable.
Not as powerful as the similar families-in-peril movies "Insidious" or "Sinister," "Oculus" nonetheless packs plenty of R-rated horror movie punch, thanks to Gillan's performance and an excellent script by Mike Flanagan. It's notable that this film is Rated R because it's not terribly gory -- but it is scary enough that no teenage girl should be exposed to its terrors.