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Oculus

Blu Ray

  • Score
    56
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Oculus' structural brilliance and technical prowess shine, despite a less innovative third act. Recommended.

    Oculus Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    66
  • Oculus's Blu-ray, courtesy of 20th Century Fox with an AVC 1080p in 2.40:1, showcases sharp details via Arri Alexa, balancing bright outdoors and murky interiors well, with accurate yet subdued colors and commendable shadow details in darker scenes, free from compression artifacts.

  • Audio
    71
  • Oculus' DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 offers exceptional sound, from the powerful LFE to crystal-clear dialogue, bolstered by its Auro 11.1 origins. Its fidelity and surround consistency impress, with no flaws.

  • Extra
    56
  • Featuring 1080p deleted scenes, an EPK, the original short in 480i with insightful commentary, and a trailer, all rich with behind-the-scenes details and discussions by Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy.

  • Movie
    51
  • Oculus merges timelines in a chilling tale of a cursed mirror, testing the boundaries of family trauma and the ambiguity of reality, crafted with a strong cast but minimal gore.

    Video: 66

    Oculus," as presented on Blu-ray by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, boasts an exceptional visual experience thanks to its AVC encoded 1080p transfer in the cinematic aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Captured with the cutting-edge technology of the Arri Alexa (Plus) camera, the film is a showcase of digital cinematography's capability to handle a wide range of tonal variations. This technical prowess is evident in the vivid clarity of daylight scenes contrasted sharply with the intricately textured, albeit slightly less detailed, dimly lit interior scenes. Through meticulous use of extreme close-ups, highlighted in several screenshots accompanying the review, the video quality reveals an impressive level of detail that stands out even amidst the film's predominantly subdued palette and progressively darker settings.

    The color rendition in "Oculus" remains faithful and nuanced, steering clear of overly aggressive grading, albeit with a subtle shift towards cooler tones in its darker sequences. The film demonstrates a sophisticated restraint in its color palette, gradually desaturating as the narrative delves deeper into shadows, all the while maintaining commendable shadow detail that lends a tangible sense of depth to the more obscure moments. Despite a significant number of scenes shrouded in near darkness, the Blu-ray ensures that compression artifacts remain non-issues, preserving the integrity of the visual presentation throughout.

    Director Mike Flanagan's creative vision comes to life with remarkable clarity on this Blu-ray edition. The meticulous balancing act between sharp, highly detailed close-ups and the challenging low-light conditions showcases not only the capabilities of modern digital filmmaking equipment but also a proficient handling of the Blu-ray format itself. Without succumbing to common pitfalls like noise or loss of detail in darker scenes, "Oculus" serves as a testament to how horror films can thrive on high-definition home video platforms, thanks to adept technical execution and sensitive color grading that maintains atmospheric tension without undermining visual quality.

    Audio: 71

    The audio presentation for "Oculus" on Blu-ray, defined by its lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, demonstrates a level of booming intensity that mirrors the finesse and precision of a quality theatrical experience, reminiscent of the Auro 11.1 original mix. The low-frequency effects (LFE) command attention right from the outset, creating a deep, resonating experience that not only adds a physical dimension to the horror but is also aggressive enough to shake the room through the subwoofer with considerable might. This audacious sound base underpins the entire viewing, adding depth and tension in equal measure.

    Dialogues and sound effects interlace neatly within this rich sonic tapestry, maintaining clarity and distinctiveness throughout. There's an admirable balance struck between the dialogue, ensuring it never gets lost amidst the powerful score and potent LFE presence. Even during the film's more subdued sequences, the surround channels are astutely employed to maintain an engaging atmosphere, encapsulating the viewer in a ceaselessly immersive auditory experience. The fidelity of this track is impeccable, showcasing no discernible flaws, thereby endorsing a high-quality replication of sound that stands up to critical listening.

    The professional handling of audio elements ensures an enveloping and relentless experience that does justice to the film's intense narrative and visual spectacles. The seamless integration and management of all sound components suggest a meticulous attention to detail in the Blu-ray's audio production. With a track free of any technical issues and endowed with a robust low end, "Oculus'" DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 setup serves as an exemplary case of how horror films can immensely benefit from a well-crafted sound design to elevate tension and engross the audience fully.

    Extra: 56

    The extra features on the "Oculus" Blu-Ray provide a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at the film's creation, alongside additional content that enhances the viewing experience. The inclusion of deleted scenes with optional commentary offers insightful perspectives from director Mike Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy, shedding light on their creative decisions. The EPK titled "Inside the Mirror: Creating Oculus" is a succinct yet informative piece that includes interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, although it sticks closely to the standard format. The original short that inspired the full-length film is presented in lower resolution but stands out as a fascinating watch, especially with the optional commentary that dives into its conceptualization and thematic depth. Additionally, the full-length commentary track on the main feature provides an engaging dialogue between Flanagan and Macy, filled with technical details and anecdotes from the set. The theatrical trailer rounds off the extras, offering a glimpse into the film's initial marketing approach.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy: A collection of cuts providing deeper insight into creative choices.
    • Inside the Mirror: Creating Oculus: A behind-the-scenes exploration featuring interviews and film snippets.
    • Original Oculus Short with Optional Commentary by Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy: The conceptual piece that led to the feature film, accompanied by directorial insights.
    • Commentary by Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy: An in-depth discussion on filmmaking techniques and production anecdotes.
    • Theatrical Trailer: A high-definition preview of the movie's public promotion.

    Movie: 51

    Oculus" stands out in the horror genre not by reinventing the wheel but by taking a conventional concept—the evil object—and imbuing it with a fresh, psychological twist that reinvigorates the trope with a chilling new life. Director and co-writer Mike Flanagan, extending his own 2005 short into a full-length narrative, cleverly eschews the found footage format to weave a complex tale that juxtaposes two timelines. This structural decision enhances the storytelling, allowing for a rich exploration of the characters' psychological states, particularly as they interact with the ominous mirror that serves as the film's central antagonist. The technical execution here—avoiding cheap shocks for a more profound, unsettling atmosphere—is commendable, reflecting a mature approach to horror that prioritizes dread over immediate frights.

    The film's opening sequences immediately establish a sense of urgent disarray, introducing viewers to siblings Kaylie and Tim dealing with the repercussions of their traumatic past. This framework smartly unravels both in the past, showcasing their nightmarish childhood, and in their present struggle to confront what they believe to be the cause of their family’s downfall—the mirror. The dual narrative not only maintains suspense but deepens the emotional resonance of their journey, shedding light on their transformation from helpless children to determined adults. The performances, particularly from Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff as the deteriorating parents, lend a gravitas and authenticity to the horror, steering clear of genre clichés by focusing on the harrowing impact of mental unraveling.

    Where "Oculus" genuinely distinguishes itself is in its commitment to psychological complexity rather than relying on explicit gore or jump scares. It challenges perceptions of reality, pushing the audience to question the nature of the mirror’s power and its true effect on the family's psyche. This intellectually engaged storytelling approach may not satisfy all horror fans seeking visceral thrills but offers a thought-provoking examination of guilt, memory, and perception. However, the film's determination to provide concrete answers slightly diminishes its potentially lingering ambiguity, marginally weakening its otherwise compellingly eerie premise. Nonetheless, "Oculus" remains a standout endeavor that showcases Flanagan’s skillful direction and a collective cast performance that elevates the material beyond conventional horror fare.

    Total: 56

    In the Blu-ray presentation of "Oculus," it's evident that the film leverages its structural sophistication to establish an intriguing narrative. Director Mike Flanagan demonstrates a commendable level of craftsmanship, weaving together two parallel stories with skill and precision. This approach creates a suspenseful experience, engaging the audience through most of its runtime. However, the film slightly falters in its final act, where it seems to lose some momentum, opting to maintain pace rather than escalate it. Additionally, the decision to resolve the ambiguity surrounding Tim's mental state might disappoint some viewers who prefer a more nuanced conclusion. Despite these criticisms, the technical aspects of this Blu-ray release are exemplary, showcasing high-quality visuals and sound that enhance the viewing experience.

    The technical presentation of "Oculus" on Blu-ray is undeniably impressive. The video and audio quality are top-notch, contributing significantly to the film's immersive nature. It is these technical merits that stand out, offering clarity and detail that draw viewers into the film's psychologically complex world. Consequently, fans of the genre and technical aficionados alike will find much to appreciate in this aspect of the release.

    In conclusion, while "Oculus" may stumble slightly in its narrative execution, particularly in the third act, its overall presentation on Blu-ray is highly commendable. Mike Flanagan's directorial finesse is apparent throughout, especially in how he manages to weave two timelines into a coherent and engaging narrative. The robust technical qualities of the Blu-ray enhance this experience further, making it a recommended addition for both fans of psychological thrillers and aficionados of superior home cinema presentation.