To celebrate Women in Horror Month, I will be highlighting some of my favorite undersung female characters in horror films each day this month. These posts will contain some spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movies mentioned, do yourself a solid and check them out before reading all the way through.
Today I’m celebrating Kaylie Russell from the 2013 Oculus.
Kaylie does something that defies logic to me: she gives a solid reason why a feature length movie about a haunted mirror exists (are you listening to Amityville: A New Generation?).
Kaylie is a determined young woman. Her parents died when she was young, and her brother was locked up for it. But she is fully convinced an antique mirror known as the Lasser Glass mirror is actually to blame for her family’s demise. She uses her job at an auction house to buy the mirror back, and set up an experiment to prove the mirror has supernatural powers.
I love that Kaylie purposely seeks out the supernatural entity in the movie, and takes such a measured, thoughtful approach to defeating it. I’ve seen other horror films that show a determined investigator going after a supernatural force, but it was neat to see a character with a personal vendetta against a haunted object. It creates this scary showdown that’s ripe with tension as it jumps between past and present.
Unfortunately, Kaylie ultimately meets her demise thanks to the Lasser Glass, but her story was moving and tragic. She let her obsession with the mirror override her judgment, but she acted out of grief over her parents, love for her brother, and a belief in his innocence. She also had a fiancé and career so despite her single-mindedness, she had also created as much of a life for herself as she could despite her tragic backstory, which makes her failure to stop the Lasser Glass all the more tragic itself.
Hats off the Kaylie for trying to do something to stop an evil force from continuing to destroy lives the way it destroyed her family.