Oculus Movie Explained: What’s the Story Behind?

What Really Happened at the End of the Oculus Thriller?

Plot analysis and meaning of the film “Oculus” (2013), an explanation of the ending, a similar movie.

Country: USA

Genre: horror, thriller

Year of production: 2013

Director: Mike Flanagan

Actors: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff

tagline: “If you want to live, close your eyes”

Mike Flanagan’s new work, presented at the Toronto Film Festival, was talked about as a very unexpected tape, unlike other films made in this genre.

The plot and meaning of the film Oculus can really be called original. The director’s picture evokes a feeling of helplessness and, as it were, appeals to primary human fears: not to wake up, to cause harm, to go crazy. And one of the meanings of this terrible, dark tape sounds like this: the human mind is just a weak light in the darkness and you should not rely on it alone.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the content of the film “Oculus”. A young man named Tim Russell is released from a psychiatric hospital where he had previously undergone compulsory treatment for eleven years. The young man has a difficult, dark past behind him: at the age of 10, he killed his own father. He then told the policemen who arrived that terrible evening that something supernatural had intervened in the events. However, after going through a long, painful treatment, Tim abandoned this idea.

Karen GillanKaren Gillan as Caylee, Brenton Thwaites as Tim. Frame from the film.

After being released, the young man meets with his older sister Kaylee. She works as an auctioneer and sells antiques. Tim soon realizes that the past has not let him go completely: from time to time he remembers how many years ago he lived in a big house with his parents and sister.

One day, my father bought a large antique mirror for his office, after which strange, frightening things began to happen in the house. The man himself began to have terrible visions, and his wife fell into paranoia and began to behave very violently. The head of the family isolated his wife and stopped paying attention to the children. The brother and sister, confident that the mirror was to blame for all their troubles, tried to seek help, but no one took their words seriously.

In the end, the situation got out of control: the mother tried to kill Tim and Kaylee, but the father intervened. After killing her, he ordered his son to shoot himself. After that, the house was filled with terrible ghosts of people ruined by a terrible mirror. The children managed to escape, after which they swore an oath to each other that one day they would destroy the dangerous object. Then the police arrived and took the boy into custody, and after a small investigation, he was sent for treatment.

While her brother was in a psychiatric hospital, Kaylee struggled with the solution to the mirror. According to her interpretation, inside the item is a demonic entity, the Oculus. It conjures eerie illusions and feeds on the life force of humans.

The grown-up Kaylie remained true to her childhood oath – she is sure that the mirror must be destroyed. But first, she needs to collect evidence of his harmfulness – including in order to justify her parents.

otherworldly mirrorFrame from the film.

Using her official position, she takes the mirror home and places it in a room equipped with video cameras and special equipment. With the help of plants that die near the Oculus, the girl tries to track the radius of influence of a dangerous object. Just in case, she warns her boyfriend Michael that something bad can happen to her, and he promises to insure her.

Tim tries to prove to his sister that this makes no sense, because he is convinced that there is no Oculus in the mirror. Kaylee protests passionately and reminds him of his childhood vow. The guys start arguing and suddenly notice that the video cameras have moved by themselves.

Discouraged, Tim offers to watch the tape: it shows that they themselves rearranged the cameras in such a way that it was impossible to film part of the room. At the same time, neither brother nor sister remembers doing such a thing. Tim reluctantly admits that it looks like his sister is right and that there really is an evil spirit in the mirror that can manipulate their minds.

Soon the guys decide to leave the sphere of influence of a dangerous object, but they fail to do so. They call the police, but nothing comes of it either – a voice from childhood insists that the father should call …

Ending explanation

Explanation of the ending of the picture. Toward the end of the picture, Michael, who sounded the alarm, comes to the rescue. However, Kelly, tricked by the Oculus, lashes out and kills him.

Like many years ago, after that the house is filled with ghosts, among which are the ghosts of the children’s parents. Kaylee and Tim cease to understand where is reality and where is delusion: in one house, the past and the present seem to be mixed. In the end, Oculus lures the young man into a room with a mirror, near which Kaylie is standing. Not seeing her and deciding to immediately destroy the dangerous object, the guy unwittingly becomes the culprit in the death of his sister. The mirror itself, meanwhile, remains intact.

The police again come to the house and detain Tim. Like many years ago, he tries to say that the mirror did it, but no one listens to him. Sitting in the police car, he again sees the ghosts of his parents. Standing next to them this time is Kaylee.

The meaning of the ending of the film “Oculus” is that the mirror (more precisely, the demonic entity in it) finally won. The deceased Kaylie connects with her parents and, probably, also becomes a hostage of the demon. Tim’s fate is no less tragic: he lost his entire family, the police consider him guilty of two murders (there are two corpses in the house – Kaylee and Michael). The life of the unfortunate young man has gone downhill: he is waiting for a long prison term or compulsory long-term treatment in a psychiatric clinic.

Rory CochraneAlan Russell was played by Rory Cochrane and Mary Russell was played by Katie Sackoff. Frame from the film.

The meaning of the film

In their analysis, viewers note that this film by Mike Flanagan continues and develops his creepy short film, dated 2006. That work was called “Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan” and the events also revolved around the antique mirror. According to people who have seen both films, the new “Oculus” is not inferior to its predecessor in terms of atmosphere and general creepiness.

The film is based on the story of the mystic and alchemist Louis Arpo, who created the Golden Angels mirror in the middle of the 18th century. According to legend, a demon was imprisoned in the mirror, which needed daily “food”. In short, the mirror, as its creator claimed, killed about 40 people…

The very fact of using this attribute as a symbol of evil suggests that the director did not set himself the goal of revolutionizing the genre. Skillfully using a set of typical techniques and building the plot in a non-standard way, he only creates the illusion of innovation.

The beginning of the picture is quite dynamic, but very soon the narrative slows down and it becomes clear that Oculus is not only a tense mystical thriller, but also a psychological drama.

The main plot is clear from the very beginning. Before us is a mirror – aggressive, evil and predatory. It is the main antagonist. However, despite the fact that the director clearly places the accents, it is really unclear which of the two heroes of the tape is right – Tim, who is trying to think rationally, or Kaylie, who all this time lived with the thought of taking revenge on the dangerous object for her parents.

Annalize BassoAnnalize Basso played the role of Caylee Russell as a child, Garrett Ryan played the role of Tim Russell
in childhood. Frame from the film.

The guy defends his point of view convincingly enough – so much so that even the reinforced concrete position of Kaylie begins to waver. But here comes the Oculus…

The picture of Mike Flanagan keeps in suspense not because of sophisticated sadism and liters of blood – it’s all about the ephemeral factor of human fear hidden in the depths of the soul. It is under his influence that the inner transformation of the brother and sister takes place. A thick, ancient fear makes both seek, dig for the truth and reflect, honing their monstrous destructive potential along the way.

The essence of the film is not to reveal the nature of mystical events. Much more important for us is the story of one family that faced pure evil. However, as it turns out later, the root of evil lies in the protagonists of the picture themselves.

The director relies on a two-layer video sequence, in which frames of terrible events from the heroes’ childhood alternate with their attempts to figure out what’s wrong and destroy a dangerous artifact. The interesting idea of ​​“returning fear” is used by the director to create a dark atmosphere of endless horror and complete hopelessness. The whole story revolves around illusions and deceit. Supernatural forces are presented here as something incomprehensible, unkind, dangerous and invincible.

It cannot be said that Mike Flanagan’s film contains some deep hidden meaning. However, it is worth recognizing that his ominous mirror, which has lived for centuries and has probably seen everything, has become a metaphor for human consciousness – dualistic and dangerous. The mirror in the Oculus is a window into another world inhabited by evil spirits and ghosts. You will not see your own reflection in it, because a thick white fog will suck you in. This is something like an all-seeing Eye, pursuing, tormenting and destroying; a mirror, looking into which, you can immediately lose your mind and lose your own “I” forever.

scary mirrorFrame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few films similar in meaning to the movie “Oculus”:

  • “Mirrors” (USA, Romania, Germany, France, 2008). A former police officer gets a job as a night watchman. One day, while making his rounds, he notices something incredibly creepy in one of the mirrors…
  • “1408” (USA, 2007). Mike Enslin, author of horror novels, stays in the “cursed” room 1408.
  • “Conjuring” (USA, 2013). Ed and Lorraine Warren are investigating cases involving all kinds of hell. One day, a family that is haunted by an evil spirit turns to them for help.
  • Sinister (USA, UK, Canada, 2012). A famous writer and his family in a house where a year ago someone brutally dealt with the previous tenants. Soon, something very terrible begins to happen in the mansion.
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