A Frightening Karen Gillan Psychological Thriller Is Dominating On Streaming

By Matthew Creith | Published

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Scottish actor Karen Gillan has proven herself to be a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with performances as Nebula in various films of the franchise. The Guardians of the Galaxy star has attempted to break away from her comic book roots a bit by appearing in thrillers, and comedies. FlixPatrol now reports that the Karen Gillan-led psychological thriller, Oculus, has been climbing the streaming charts to reach the number two spot on Paramount+.

Directed by notable horror director Mike Flanagan, Oculus stars Karen Gillan as Kaylie Russell and Brenton Thwaites as her brother Tim. Together the siblings unearth the possibility that an antique mirror might be to blame for the string of bad luck and deaths plaguing their family. The feature film is based on a short film entitled Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan also directed by Flanagan.

Produced by Jason Blum of The Purge fame, Oculus features an ensemble group of actors alongside Karen Gillan, including Rory Cochrane, The Mandalorian actor Katee Sackhoff, James Lafferty, Miguel Sandoval, and Kate Siegel. Oculus was released in theaters in the United States in April 2014, after a successful screening at the Toronto International Film Festival the previous September.

As an early film in Karen Gillan’s acting career, after the actress appeared appeared on British television for several years, Oculus outperformed expectations when it finally debuted to American audiences, grossing $44 million at the box office against a budget of $5 million. Gillan was primarily known for costarring in the long-running series Doctor Who at the time, and made the leap to star in this vehicle.

Karen Gillan
Karen Gillan in Jumanji.

For Karen Gillan, Oculus was the start of a successful venture into internationally recognized movies, as she would go on to costar in Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel the following year. The film was a coproduction of Blumhouse Productions and WWE Studios, the latter of which had typically focused on featuring their wrestlers in high-profile productions rather than producing movies outside of that scope. There is a scene in Oculus that is a blink and you’ll miss it mention of WWE wrestler Triple H, aka Paul Levesque, but that seems to be the only part of the film that hints at it being a WWE Studios production.

Oculus received mostly mixed reviews upon its debut in theaters from both critics and audiences alike, although time has been kind in its critical response of Karen Gillan and the rest of the cast in comparison to the audience’s reaction. Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks the movie as Certified Fresh with a 75% rating on its Tomatometer based on 157 critics’ reviews, as well as an Audience Score of 53% from over 25,000 ratings from verified users to the site. Similar, Metacritic reflects a Metascore of 61 and a User Score of 3.2, which typically denotes generally favorable reviews by critics and generally unfavorable reviews from audiences.