Ouija: Origin Of Evil is a prequel that actually improves on its predecessor, Ouija (2014). With Mike Flanagan as co-writer, editor and director, we have a solid enough film in terms of themes, atmosphere, sound and cinematography. Add a good cast and the film is set for some box office success.
Origin of Evil is set in 1967 Los Angeles, in a house where widow Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) lives with her two young daughters, high school sophomore Paulina (Oculus’ Annalise Basso) and angelic 9-year-old Doris (Lulu Wilson). As a single mother, Alice is having difficulties making ends meet. She aims to earn some money being a fortune teller who helps others process the death of a loved one. In reality, though, it’s more of a séance scam, which eventually includes a Ouija board to liven up their act. As soon as the Ouija board is opened in their house, spirits being to haunt and possess Doris.
Alice pretends nothing is the matter when Doris begins ‘seeing’ spirits in the house by adding this to her seanse business. Paulina is not having it; she knows something more sinister is happening to Doris. The problem is Alice believes Doris can actually talk to the spirit of her death father – as if this is some kind of ‘gift’ that should be enhanced. Soon we realize this is no gift. Keep watching in order to find out what actually happens.
Flanagan along with his special and visual effects teams work diligently to show us the Evil that lurks in the house and haunts Doris. As well, Flanagan keeps the audience on edge by using complex camera angles and interesting in-scene split-screen effects. Where Origin of Evil may miss the mark for avid horror fans is in his relying of true-and-tried set up moments. For younger and less versed audiences, the films scary moments will definitely deliver.
Being his own editor, Flanagan knows what scenes will work where. Let’s not forget he also is familiar with horror films in general. From title cards, to sound editing, costume and production design, and score, Origin of Evil delivers. It is mostly good, scary fun. There are some dark moments, which appear rushed towards the end. These are needed so as not to make the film laughable. The final moments are not new but Flanagan’s editing puts them together for a satisfying ending.
Whether you have seen the original or heard ‘how bad’ it was, do not pass upon Origin of Evil. The themes and story are not unique. Nonetheless, the film will have you captive (pun intended) for its entirety in hopes of a good resolution.
- Release Date: 10/21/2016