Terror Tuesday Report: The Oracle

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The Film

A young woman and her husband move into their dream apartment for far less than they thought it would cost; suspiciously so. Turns out the source of the bargain is the mysterious death of the old lady who formerly resided in the apartment. She managed to vanish into thin air while playing a bizarre board game that allows her to communicate with the dead. The game, which finds its way into the new tenant’s possession begins to reach out to her and she becomes convinced it is the key to solving a murder. Unfortunately, in its fervor to persuade her to solve this murder the game gleefully knocks off every one around her.

The Oracle is profoundly bad. That is not to say that it fails in quite the spectacular fashion as something like Boardinghouse or Night Train to Terror. The Oracle manages a certain level of technical cohesiveness which automatically elevates far above those two cinematic abortions, but it is also stale as month-old bread. It takes itself far too seriously thereby defusing any possibility for the audience to glean entertainment value from this dry yarn. It’s not quite bad enough to be fun while nowhere near good enough to be appreciated; existing on a nebulous middle plain.

Director Roberta Findlay, for all her desperate flailing toward legitimacy, lets her porn roots peek through in The Oracle. The unnecessary love scene is soft-lit and pointlessly erotic given the fact that type of movie she’s professing to make. There is also an unhealthy prevalence of scummy mustaches to serve as a furry reminder of Findlay’s earlier work. When she’s not falling back on what she knows, Findlay steals from far better films. The opening interactions between the mad “man” and the prostitute–all the way up to her grisly demise–are wholesale stolen from William Lustig’s seminal Maniac. Just lousy directing effort overall.

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