Oculus: Decent Despite Disappointments

Horror Movie Oculus Reviewed on Christian Podcast Cinematic Doctrine Popcorn Theology
Oculus – Decent Despite Uninspired Directorial Issues

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If you’ve seen The Haunting of Hill House/Bly Manor or Midnight Mass, you’ve seen director Mike Flanagan’s work! However, for this episode we’re traveling back to 2013 to discuss one of his earliest projects, Oculus


  • (PATREON EXCLUSIVE) 40-minutes talking about the complicated dynamics of modern movie watching like watching on airplanes, cell phones, the gym, or doing dishes. Also, the concept of director, producer, editor, or alternative cuts to movies. (PATREON EXCLUSIVE) 
  • Daniel has watched more Mike Flanagan projects than Melvin. Melvin is curious if he’s noticed a style or focus of Flanagan across each project. 
  • Oculus is a fairly simple visual experience of reliving family trauma, but there isn’t a whole lot else going on from start to finish. 
  • The concept of cursed objects, things or tools having an effect on life in malicious ways not intended, is extremely cool. Despite this, the mirror as a cursed object has little presence. 
  • Most every criticism Melvin and Daniel levy at the film feel sourced in young, undeveloped directing talent, which Mike Flanagan has likely improved since working on this 2013 film. 
  • Melvin has extreme criticisms for both the original score and the cinematography for the film, finding both to be wholly uninspired. 
  • Daniel, “[Oculus] moved between being kind of interesting and then being just kind of unpleasant because of the subject matter.”
  • Discussing the “unreliable narrator” aspect of the film’s second and third act, which people will either love or hate about Oculus.
  • The world of film, especially horror, uses poor mental health for its complicating incident, or to add flavor to its storyline. How do we feel about that?


Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites in Oculus

Oculus is Rated R for terror, violence, some disturbing images, and brief language. It features Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, and Garrett Ryan. Directed by Mike Flanagan. Oculus is available on VUDU.

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Melvin Benson Cinematic Doctrine Christian Movie Podcast Host

Melvin Benson is the Founder, Editor-In-Chief, and Lead Host of Cinematic Doctrine. He’s written fiction and nonfiction for over a decade with short stories featured on the Creepypasta Wiki and Wattpad. His novelette Ethereal Temptation, a teen drama with a tinge of magical-realism, can be read for free here. His hope is to see King Jesus glorified as far as the east is from the west!

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