Katee Sackhoff talks turning the ordinary terrifying in ‘Oculus’

Get scared at "Oculus."
Get scared at “Oculus.”

“Battlestar Galactica” star Katee Sackhoff is coming to TIFF to unveil “Oculus,” a horror film in the Midnight Madness program that she’s very excited about — even if her character doesn’t have the best of times during the film.

So what is “Oculus”?
It’s a very, very different take on a very simple horror movie. It’s fantastic. It’s one of the best pieces of work I’ve seen. I play a mom to 14-year-old kids. I spend the majority of the movie — I don’t even know how to say this without giving too much away — I spend the majority of the movie not being the best mom, and that was interesting for me because it was the emotional deterioration and breakdown of a human being, which is fun.

It seems like a stretch to say you’d be the parent to 14-year-olds.
I know. It’s weird. Realistically, I mean, I’m 33. I would’ve started young, but it’s not unheard of. I mean, it’s possible. I think that it was an interesting choice to play such a young mom of children that are older but it’s not the stereotype of a young mother. It was successful. I liked that, the idea of not playing the negative stereotype of somebody who has a child in their late teens, early 20s. “Teen Mom” has done such a disservice. [Laughs]

There’s a lot wrong with “Teen Mom.”
There’s many things wrong with “Teen Mom,” let’s be honest, but I think that it’s done such a disservice to women who have children young and decide to raise those children on their own.

And the “Teen Mom” girls now end up in tabloids like actual celebrities.
Those magazines kill me. I told my mom the other day, “I think I need to stop buying them.” When you’re on airplanes sometimes and you’ve got an hour flight, there’s nothing better to do than pick up People. But it’s feeding the demon, so I don’t know.

So what is it about “Oculus” that makes it stand out as a horror film?
This is a movie… is it R? Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of blood. But there’s no swearing, there’s no sex, there’s no nudity. It’s just f—ing scary. And psychologically scary. Anytime you’ve got children potentially dying, it’s not a pretty thing. But Mike Flanagan has an ability to turn the ordinary into terrifying, nuanced things that you haven’t seen before.


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