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Oculus Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Ghost in The Shellac Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Chris Nashawaty

    Unless you’re Billy Bob Thornton, old furniture just isn’t all that scary.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Variety Dennis Harvey

    Cleverly complex, if not quite as scary or memorable as one might have hoped.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    The story's conclusion benefits from a closure that is satisfying despite — and even because of — its predictability.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Unsettling and well-acted story.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    For a horror movie, Oculus is surprisingly lean on the scares. It's more interested in playing tricks with perception and bending reality.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    Oculus is one of the more elegant scary movies in recent memory.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Village Voice Nick Schager

    Replete with superb performances led by a paranoid Sackhoff and unhinged Cochrane, it's the rare horror film to know how to tease malevolent mysteries and deliver satisfyingly unexpected, unsettling payoffs.

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  • See all Oculus reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Outstanding horror flick has gore, children in peril.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Oculus is an outstanding horror film about a haunted mirror. Expect several gory scenes that are designed to induce squirms (including photos of grisly deaths and crime scenes, fingernails being ripped off, etc.); there are also some flat-out scary images that aren't meant for the faint of heart. But while there's plenty of blood in the movie, its real focus is on story and characters (the siblings are interesting, albeit not always admirable). Language is somewhat strong, with a few uses of "s--t" and one possible use of "f--k" (spoken quietly during a noisy scene). There's a scene of heavy drinking, some minor kissing between couples, and some Apple computers shown. The movie is likely to be a must-see for horror buffs, and many teens will want to see it, too.

  • Families can talk about Oculus' violence and gore. Which scenes were meant to make you squeal and squirm, and which had a more visceral effect? What's the difference between these moments? Do bloody scenes make a movie more frightening?
  • How scary is Oculus compared to other horror movies you've seen? What's scary about it? How did you feel about the scenes with the young children in peril? Did it make a difference knowing that they were only flashbacks or nightmares and that the children survive to grow up?
  • What's the relationship between the central brother and sister like? Is it realistic? Is it stereotypical? If you have siblings, how does it compare to your relationship with them?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Though the characters quickly get themselves in too deep (and resort to stealing, lying, and violence), Oculus has a very strong, interesting sibling relationship. Yes, they argue, but they also clearly care for each other and try to help and protect each other. But in the flashback sequences, the younger children are in peril, and their situation looks pretty hopeless.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: While the brother and sister characters are well-written and interact in realistic ways -- working together, fighting, and trying to help each other -- overall, their behavior in the film isn't very admirable. Their plan requires stealing, lying, and resorting to violence and destruction.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Several very bloody, gory scenes. A man rips off his fingernails. A woman accidentally bites into a light bulb (she thinks it's an apple). A woman's scar turns into a bloody, gaping wound. In one scene, a woman shows photographs of grisly deaths and crime scenes. A gun is used. But the main issue here is in the flashbacks, showing two younger children in peril. They're neglected, ignored, tricked, trapped, and eventually attacked -- though viewers do know that they both lived to grow up.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Both a married couple and an engaged couple are shown kissing. A mom wears a sheer nightie around the house.

  • language false3

    Language: "S--t" is heard a few times, and "f--k" is used a couple of times. "Damn," "hell," "Jesus," and "oh my God" are also heard a few times.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Apple computers are shown during a scene featuring surveillance equipment.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: An upset mother drinks glass after glass of wine while her kids eat dinner.