There’s nothing wrong with a film that uses a slow build to really ratchet up the tension. However, slllooowww buuuiiillldddsss are a different matter completely. Oculus would be a prime example of the latter.

This allegedly supernatural horror movie takes so much time getting to the actual “horror” elements – all in the name of supposed character and story “progression” — that it may bore even the most easily frightened of audiences to tears.

And again, that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with setting a mood or atmosphere and trying to develop realistic characters in a horror movie. This one just does it so ineptly that the strategy backfires, with nearly disastrous results.

In addition to touting the film’s connections with the hit Insidious and Paranormal Activity movies, as well as World Wrestling Entertainment (which shares a producing credit, through its movie-production company), the studio and filmmakers are clearly hoping to draw in fans of BBC’s Doctor Who and Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica.

After all, it does feature both Katee Sackhoff (from the latter) and the former’s Karen Gillan in its cast. Scottish actress Gillan stars as Kaylie Russell, a twenty-something who’s still haunted by the tragic events of her past. She’s recently reunited with her younger brother, Tim (Brenton Thwaites), who was hospitalized for his actions in those same tragic events.

After years of therapy, Tim seems to be dealing with his past in a more healthy fashion than Kaylie, who’s obsessed with a valuable antique mirror, The Lasser Glass, which she believes contains a malevolent, manipulative spirit – one that she thinks was actually responsible for the death of their parents (played by Sackhoff and Rory Cochrane in flashbacks). Kaylie’s even gone so far as to “borrow” it from the auction house where she’s currently working. She’s planning to conduct and record an experiment in which she and Tim draw the spirit out and then “end” its reign of terror once and for all.

Tim, however, doesn’t recall events the same way Kaylie days. That is, until he returns to their childhood home, and is confronted with the horrors of his youth.

Director/editor/co-screenwriter Michael Flanagan based this haunted house/possession tale on his earlier entry in a series of short films, which also featured a “possessed” antique mirror. But his lack of experience as a filmmaker is all too apparent. Too many scenes run on longer than they should. Others end so abruptly that you’d swear they ran out of tape during that particular “take.”

And little of this nonsense actually results in a real scare, even one of the “startle” variety. Also, there’s at least one recurring motif that begs for audiences to cry out with one of their favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 catchphrases.

Worse, Flanagan isn’t exactly doing up-and-coming actress Gillan (soon to be seen in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy) a favor here. Her character is a conniving, unsympathetic shrew (at one point Kaylie sacrifices an innocent Boston Terrier puppy just to make a point, and she consistently neglects her fiancé, played by James Lafferty). You’ll be rooting for her to get a well-deserved comeuppance from the murderous spirit, most likely.

As for Australian television actor Thwaites (Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, the soap Home and Away), he can’t really do much with this material. His character is a bland cipher, even in the numerous flashback sequences (where he’s played by Garrett Ryan, from Insidious: Chapter 2).

Speaking of those flashbacks, the only cast member who really seems motivated is the talented Sackhoff, who creates the only genuinely creepy moments in this otherwise deadly dull fiasco. She deserves better than the likes of this and last year’s Riddick.

Jeff Michael Vice can also be heard reviewing films, television programs, comics, books, music and other things as part of The Geek Show Podcast (, and can be seen reviewing films as part of Xfinity’s Big Movie Mouth-Off (