Actress Gillan plays with perceptions in ghostly thriller 'Oculus'

Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:21pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A haunted mirror, a murderous father and two siblings seeking revenge form the plot for the new supernatural thriller "Oculus," which blurs perceptions and reality with ghostly scares.

"Oculus," out in the United States and Canada on Friday, follows a young woman, Kaylie, who reunites with her brother Tim after his release from an institution where he was held for a decade for killing their father, who had murdered their mother.

Kaylie is convinced that a large ornate mirror in their home caused the mental instability and subsequent demise of her parents, and is determined to clear her father's name of murder by proving the mirror is haunted by a manipulative entity.

"Kaylie is not running from the entity, she's running to it, and the worse it gets, the more happy and excited she gets because it's verifying everything that she believed, so it's just counteracting everything that we're used to," said British actress Karen Gillan, discussing her character.

The film flits between past and present, and what is real is constantly called into question as the two siblings try to right a heinous wrong. In one particularly unsettling scene, Kaylie bites into an apple, only to find it's a light bulb.

"To play with who's sane, who's insane, we start off thinking that Kaylie is completely together and then we gradually think that maybe she's totally unhinged," Gillan said.

"It's all about perception because that's what the mirror plays with," she added.

"Oculus" is the latest release from producer Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions, the company behind the runaway success of "Paranormal Activity," a film made for $11,000 that grossed $193 million at the worldwide box office, spawning a franchise for Paramount Pictures, which distributed the films. Five "Paranormal Activity" films have grossed $807 million globally.   Continued...

Karen Gillan is seen during a press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 28, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser