10 best horror films to watch on Netflix right now

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4. Oculus

Listen, folks. This should be a given, but evidently someone’s gotta say it: don’t buy an ancient, creepy-looking mirror. Just don’t. And if my sage advice alone can’t convince you, just see how well it ends up for the characters in Oculus. It’s not a spoiler to say that the answer is not well.

It’s hard to go wrong with a good old haunted-object story, but Oculus is so much more than that.

The story is told in two timelines over a decade apart, as siblings Tim and Kaylie have their first terrifying encounter with the sinister Lasser Glass as children, which results in Tim being institutionalized. When Tim is finally released as an adult, he’s ready to move on with his life. Unfortunately for him, his sister is intent on getting vengeance on the object that destroyed both their childhoods. As the story progresses, the flashbacks hit closer and closer to home until the two timelines run completely parallel, and then intertwine.

Rather than being helpless victims of some unknowable evil, Tim and Kaylie already know what to expect when facing the mirror a second time. Kaylie has done her research on all the ways the Lasser Glass has killed before, and has fail-safe after fail-safe in place to keep her and her brother safe. Karen Gillan’s performance as the grown-up Kaylie is masterful; she is terrified of the mirror, and fascinated by it, and above all, would do anything to see it destroyed. But what truly makes the Lasser Glass terrifying is its ability to totally warp the characters’ perspectives until even the audience doesn’t know what’s real anymore. The movie puts this phenomenon to extremely good use.

The Takeaway

Great usage of flashbacks, solid acting, and a premise that constantly blurs the line between what’s real and what isn’t make Oculus a must-see.