Mike Flanagan

Gerald

Few films can boast that they came from WWE Studios, and also boast that they’re not roundly terrible in every way imaginable (although I remain cautiously optimistic about Untitled Flintstones WWE Movie and Jingle All the Way 2). Oculus is one of those films. And a heaping portion of credit for Oculus and its status as WWE Studios’ first film to not deserve a thorough suplexing goes to director Mike Flanagan. But the question remains: what is Flanagan to do now? He’s already legitimized (maybe) the filmmaking branch of a company that promotes the pretend body slamming of underdressed meat slabs. What exciting filmmaking venture will Flanagan take on next? Flangan’s sticking with the horror genre for round two — Deadline reports he’ll direct an adaptation of Stephen King‘s 1992 novel, “Gerald’s Game.” According to their reporting, Flanagan’s already written the script with his writing partner, Jeff Howard. He’ll also be working with King, naturally. Casting is underway and everyone’s prepping for a fall shoot.

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Oculus-Tims

Normally I would wait until the end of the year to start the For Your Consideration posts, but the campaign for Oculus could use the extra time. The challenge isn’t so much the fact that horror movies are rarely recognized by the Academy and other major awards groups as it is that imperfect horror movies don’t stand much of a chance at all. Oculus is really good, enough to make me recommend it, and I’m known for being very, very picky with the genre, but it’s no Psycho or The Exorcist. It doesn’t deserve a Best Picture nod, nor one for Best Director. It’s not outstanding enough in any categories, really, except for editing. And many other critics are noting this quality, albeit not so much with kudos in mind, so let me be the first to recommend it be nominated for the Oscar. Even this far in advance, I’m doubting the likelihood of rallying enough support for this cause. Even if I could, it probably wouldn’t matter anyway. This isn’t the sort of film that the Academy honors. If it were, it’d still have to have some other things going for it. Better writing, noteworthy performances, a director with more prestige, these would all help it but they’re just not there. It won’t have the box office success to lift its notoriety, either. It’s pretty rare these days for any movie to be nominated for Best Editing without being represented in some other top tier categories, and usually Best […]

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Karen Gillan in OCULUS

Editor’s note: Our review of Oculus originally ran during this year’s SXSW, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in theaters this weekend. Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) is getting out of the mental hospital because he’s finally been cured. He no longer believes an evil mirror possessed his parents when he was a child leading to his father (Rory Cochrane) murdering his mother (Katee Sackhoff) before being shot down by little Timmy’s own hand. He knows better now and agrees that his dad simply went nuts. His sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) has stated as such all along and went on to grow up, find a career, and fall in love. But when she picks him up Kaylie makes it clear that the two of them can now put the revenge she’s been planning into action. She’s found the mirror, she’s tracked its deadly history across the centuries, and she has a foolproof plan to prove to the world that their parents were victims of this cursed piece of glass. The only problem with a foolproof plan is that somebody has to play the fool, and in this case it just may be Kaylie. Oculus is “mirror horror” with a bit of an initial twist in that our characters know all there is to know about this wicked antique before the movie starts. They’re prepped and prepared, and the film’s first act is a setup that includes her plans and a litany of the mirror’s past evil deeds. The […]

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Oculus Movie 2014

Creepy children and poetry. Few things are more terrifying, and the Oculus teaser trailer makes full use of them, although the end result isn’t exactly scary. More off-putting. A mild irritation. The movie from Mike Flanagan is a feature-length extension of his short of the same name. Both deal with a mystery mirror, but the new film seems to have dropped the clinical POV style for something that more resembles the Big Scary House of Insidious. That they share a producer won’t be a surprise. So, same mirror, different story. In this one, Karen Gillan stars as a woman trying to get her brother off the hook for a crime by proving to the authorities that a demon mirror did it. A lot of potential here (particularly because critics at Sundance praised its originality and clever hooks), but it may not be revealed until we get a full trailer.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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