I have a hesitant respect for what Jason Blumhouse has done with his production company so far. Blumhouse has helped get some of my favorite modern horror films out there (Paranormal Activity, Sinister and Insidious), but also a few titles I’m far less enthusiastic about (Paranormal Acitivyt 4, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and Lords of Salem). The hit and miss nature of the production company’s films so far is why I’m a little skittish when I see its name attached to a trailer. Such is the case for the newly released trailer for Oculus, a film directed by Mike Flanagan and starring Katee Sackhoff.
It was one thing to see the Blumhouse logo before the trailer, it was an entirely new level of hesitation when I saw the WWE Studios logo right before Blumhouse. I have almost zero positive experiences with films that have the WWE Studios seal of approval (has anyone out there seen The Day? One word review: yikes). That being said, this trailer really got under my skin. It doesn’t employ the ridiculous “audience reaction” angle, it isn’t found footage and it looks downright creepy. It certainly has an Insidious/Sinister vibe and the voiceover of the child talking about a mirror is very fairy tale-esque, but there are some images in this trailer that if you linger on them long enough will probably haunt your dreams tonight, like this one:
Apart from Katee Sackoff, the film has no universally recognizable faces or names, something I think really helps small horror films like this. Additionally, Oculus’ director has not yet been tainted by Hollywood’s standards, so it’s quite possible that the film could be a sleeper hit. Oculus has a simple enough premise that doesn’t sound all that fresh: A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon. Just that though, could be enough to get some butts in the seats even though it’s April release date is not typically a hotbed of horror success- save for the Evil Dead remake from last year.
Aside from the images in the trailer, something else giving me some hope that this might be worthwhile is the positive buzz from the Toronto International Film Fest last year. Oculus received 2nd place at the festival in the Midnight Madness section of the People’s Choice category. Don’t take my word for it though! Check out the trailer and decide for yourself!
What did you think of the trailer for Oculus? Did you happen to catch it at TIFF in 2013? What are your thoughts on Blumhouse Pictures or WWE Studios?