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How anyone can be surprised by how good this film turned out to be is beyond me. From OCULUS to HUSH to BEFORE I WAKE, director Mike Flanagan has proved time and time again that he knows how to make elevated horror films, and OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is no different. Flanagan's penchant to mix human drama with horror is present here and continues to be a winning formula. After all, caring about the characters is the basis of any good horror movie. The film also has a cast giving credible performances, well-timed jump scares, and a great retro style that hearkens back to horror films in the 1970s. For a Halloween flick, you can't ask for more, and in that front, this Ouija sequel delivers.
OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is super creepy. And it has good amount of
well-placed jump-scares to rattle even the toughest audiences. As a
horror fan, I definitely enjoy this installment way better than its
This is actually a prequel to the 2014 film, so they're taking this story back to the beginning; how it all started, with the same house but 50 years earlier. Elizabeth Reaser is a single mom raising her two daughters played by Annalise Basso and Lulu Wilson. They run a seance scam business to make a living but when they unwittingly invite an evil spirit into their home which then possesses the youngest daughter, this becomes the struggle to save her and drive the demon away.
There's so much to like about OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL. Well, for one, it's set in the '60s, so that in and of itself provides a very interesting style in terms of the actors' outfit and hair, it's like watching 'Mad Men' all over again, I'll never get over how much effort people put into the clothes they wear just to go to the supermarket back in that era. There's also heart in this story, the kids lost their dad, the wife lost her husband, the priest lost his wife, and and so that hole in their souls forms a foundation for why each of them has a longing or desire to speak with their dead loved ones. The reason why they can be taken advantage of by the spirit, totally makes sense, because they are at the most vulnerable point in their lives and looking for answers, unable to let go.
And because this is a prequel, at the end you'll see how the story and the characters connect to the previous installment, I won't spoil it here for you, but you'll be able to make that connection without a problem. I think what essentially makes OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL scary is Lulu Wilson's character, Doris Zander. Horror genre has a history of little creepy kids doing bloody gory things on screen, but there's something in Lulu's performance in that she's able to get your guard down, so when the frightening moments do come in, they become all the more effective. And unexpectedly, I might add. You'll jitter, your pulse will keep pounding, you'll close your eyes with your hands but with a few fingers open, and all the while you feel for the struggle of this family, you're invested in them. OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is one of this year's best horror films in my book.
-- Rama's Screen --
This prequel has no business being as good as it is. The first Ouija
film came out in 2014 and quickly faded away into obscurity. So imagine
my surprise when they decide to make a 'prequel' of all things. I hunch
is that The Conjuring films have been pretty successful and they are
set in the 70's, when things were a little creepier, no cell phones and
genuine scary aesthetic. Imagine my surprise again when up and coming
horror filmmakers Mike Flanagan was the man behind the camera. The
underrated mirror horror flick Oculus and deaf home invasion flick Hush
were two of his recent outings. Things were looking not too bad for
this flick and to top it off, it received some pretty decent reviews.
Alice and her two daughters run a scam business in which they "speak to the dead". The mother justifies this business by telling her youngest daughter, Doris, that it helps people move on and get closure. When her eldest, Lina, plays the new Ouija boardgames at a friends house, she tells her mother to incorporate it into her act. She does and things take a sinister turn when they scam becomes reality.
It's hard to make a game board scary. The first film tried, failed and this one tries and succeeds for the most part. Any non-horror fan might balk at the idea that this film is good, but I consider this movie to be one of the most underrated flicks of the year. Flanagan knows how to build solid tension and he doesn't rely on cheap scares or an obscene amount of gore. This film has none of that. Careful framework and lighting is all he needs to create an unsettling atmosphere. Whenever someone decides to look through the ouija glass piece, you feel yourself tense up expecting something to happen.
Kids in horror films are the go to for anything scary. Most movies tend to cast children horribly and they end of ruining the film. Doris, played by Lulu Wilson delivers an innocent and somewhat chilling performance as the youngest daughter. Her goodbye message to a young boy about what it feels like to be strangled to death is an excellent scene to send chills down your spine. No scary images, sounds or blood needed. Just a child delivering one monologue about suffocating you.
Obviously the film is far from perfect, but it doesn't cater to the happy ending crowd either. It takes some chances and for the most part, lands them. I was surprised by how much I liked this film, which may be why the rating is higher than what others would tend to give a film like this. Had the first film never existed, this would be a bigger hit.
Perhaps the most shocking and surprising treat of the 2016 Halloween
season is director Mike Flanagan's prequel tale "Ouija: Origin of
Evil"- a skillfully crafted, tasteful and highly atmospheric follow- up
to the disastrously bad 2014 thriller "Ouija." It's frankly stunning
just how good a film Flanagan was able to build from such a poor
foundation, weaving a tale that honestly not only runs laps around it's
far inferior predecessor... but honestly made me completely forget
about what came before. In my mind, "Ouija" will be a forgotten victim
of studio greed, while this prequel will stand tall as the "true" film
based on the iconic and controversial board-game of terror.
In the 1960's, widow Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) works as a fortune teller out of her home, staging false séances with the help of her teenage daughter Paulina (Annalise Basso) and younger child Doris. (Lulu Wilson) After purchasing a Ouija board as a new gimmick for her work, Alice does not notice that Doris has become overtaken by a deranged and mysterious force associated with the board, instead believing that her young daughter's newfound abilities and knowledge of things she could not possibly know are signs that unlike her, Doris is a real medium. However, as Doris' abilities become gradually all the more powerful and sinister, Alice and Paulina must band together to try and break her free from the devious spirits of the past that have taken ahold of her physical form...
Flanagan directs from a script co-written by Jeff Howard, and much like his wonderful previous efforts "Oculus" and "Hush", here he continues to shine as one of the finest new voices in horror. There's a certain sense of taste and thoughtfulness he injects into his work, as he takes his time to try and establish strong character and interpersonal relationships, in addition to identifiable human drama which helps to accentuate the fear that builds. He also just knows how to deliver a darned good scare- a skill he uses expertly throughout the entire runtime here to build a great sense of foreboding dread.
The performances are all stellar as well, helping to add to the film's high quality and impact. Elizabeth Reaser is fantastic as the mother Alice, and you really get a feel for a person lost after the death of their beloved spouse who is trying to hold it together for the sake of her children. Wilson is a great new Doris and does remarkably well for an actress of such a young age. Supporting roles by the likes of Henry Thomas are all uniformly strong and help to round out the cast in likable performances. And Annalise Basso steals the show as Paulina (also known as "Lina"), who becomes our main focus and is a strong presence on-screen. At only 17 years old, Basso is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future. She possesses talent far beyond her years, and is the beating heart of the film as a sister and daughter struggling to help her sibling and mother from the forces at play- both supernatural and emotional.
The film does falter at times a bit, which is where it loses points. Despite the first film being decidedly very poor by comparison, this film does a bit of distracting ret-con work that may bother those who are familiar with the original. Some major details of the backstory and rules are changed, which made it feel a bit inorganic as a continuation. It's also a bit too heavy on the scares up- front, which lessened their impact. I would have preferred more slow a buildup. And it does lack some drama since this is a prequel and you'll be able to guess some of what happens based on this fact.
Still, that cannot stop this from being a darned good and very well- assembled supernatural horror. It's not one of the best horror films ever made by any means, but it's a solid and highly entertaining thriller boasting some heart, some good scares and a great cast. This is the movie you've been waiting for if you've wanted to see a movie based around the idea of the dreaded Ouija board. My advice? Skip out on the first film and just watch this as a stand-alone. It's far more rewarding an experience than the awful original could ever hope to be.
I give "Ouija: Origin of Evil" a strong 8 out of 10. If you're open minded, be sure to give it a shot, especially if the last one let you down. Take it from me... this is a very pleasant surprise.
Ouija: Origin of Evil
The best thing about communing with the dead through a Ouija board today is they all communicate in abbreviations.
In the sixties, however, specters, like the ones in this horror movie, had to spell complete words.
Single mother and sham spiritualist Alice (Elizabeth Reaser) uses her daughters to help swindle her clients during staged séances by pretending to be their relatives.
When Alice adds a spirit board to the act her youngest (Lulu Wilson) starts to actually channel entities in the home, including her father. Meanwhile, the eldest (Annalise Basso) seeks help from a priest (Henry Thomas).
Despite being a sequel, this frightful follow-up surpasses the forgettable original in all aspects. Filling in the blanks from the first, Origin of Evil also explores some interesting new themes concerning the afterlife while maintaining ample scares.
Incidentally, Ouija boards are only good for reprimanding dead relatives over the pittance they bequeathed you.
I wasn't really expecting much from this one. The IBDb rating was
pretty low, the title is a bit cheesy, and the writers, directors and
cast are not exactly A-listers. None of that mattered though as this
one was actually pretty good.
First off, the scenes were beautiful. It was like watching a warm sunset. In addition, the direction and camera angles really enhanced the suspense and intensity. The special effects were also top notch and at one point I was like, "Whaaaat? That is cool".
I was pretty captivated throughout, although it did have it's clunky moments but not too many of them and they quickly worked their way out of them.
The cast did a superb job with the young Lulu Wilson pretty much stealing the show. I'll most likely be seeing her again in my nightmares. Annalise Basso, Elizabeth Reaser and Henry Thomas also did an excellent job so I don't want to sell them short either.
Overall this was a pleasant surprise with moments of nail-biting suspense. Definitely worth the watch on a dark and quiet night. Oh, and one other reviewer mentioned not watching the preview. I didn't so that might have helped.
Halloween night over her gave us 3 flicks to watch, I watched Train To
Busan and The Windmill Massacre but Ouija I never went due the failure
of he 2014 version.
On poster the font used to write Ouija was the same on both flicks. Never wanted to see this one due the 2014 version I noticed the reviews were better so I did go watch it afterwards.
And it's a hell better then the 2014 version. The way it was shot and the slow movement of the flick did add towards the creepy atmosphere. The ticking of the clock throughout the whole picture also add the creeps.
It all starts with an Ouija fraud and of course slowly it turns into a possession. It never had any boring moments and the effects used were great. Even as they were CGI, it all worked out fine.
Be sure to watch it until the end credits are over, you're in for a big surprise if you're a horror geek. Worth picking up.
Gore 0/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 3/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Who knew Ouija was going to release a sequel (or in this case,
prequel), that could provide more than cheap thrills and shallow
characters? Ouija: Origin of Evil certainly delivers.
The highlight of this movie would be the wonderful child acting by Lulu Wilson as Doris Zander. Whether intentional or coincidental, the girl portrays childhood innocence very well, which ultimately becomes a mask for the possession.
The story is set in the 1960's around a widow and her family who are trying to make money as mediums (counterfeit ones, of course). It is not centered around present day teens making stupid decisions in their hormonal angst, and that is already a good start.
There was potential to make it more. The elder sister is very skeptical in the beginning, and remains so throughout the movie. This seems to be her only role in the film, and it would have been nice to see her resolve some of her own conflicts.
The effects are not brilliant, especially some that appear on Doris's face, but overall they do the trick. Some may not like the ending, but I for one don't feel the need to achieve moral resolution in any supernatural horror production, so I liked it, even though I wish it hadn't been so abrupt/final.
Good movie. 7/10.
I just went back and read my review for the original 'Ouija'. It was a
fairly negative review overall and there was an interesting line in
there about these movies being doomed before they even start making
them because Ouija boards aren't scary. Step forward Mike Flanagan to
prove me wrong. Flanagan is becoming a bit of a heavyweight in the
horror industry with each of his films so far being very strong. Here,
he does the near impossible and makes the a sequel (technically a
prequel) infinitely stronger than the original was.
There was a lot of great stuff here. Something I loved was that the jump scares were more about the imagery than just a loud noise. Typically these days jump scares take almost no skill at all to pull off because the damn noise that accompanies them is so loud that it wouldn't matter what happened on the screen. In 'Ouija: Origin of Evil' the scares are more about the brilliant visuals that are created throughout the film. They're the type that will stick with you afterwards and require a lot more skill to pull off.
The writing is also a lot better this time around. The first one had some atrocious dialogue and incredibly stupid characters. This time there are genuinely fascinating plot points that give the film even more levels than just a horror film. The original also had an immensely weak opening scene. On this occasion the opening scene is one of the strongest in the whole film and even has its own mini-twist.
The character of 'Doris' was the highlight of the whole experience. I was incredibly impressed with young Lulu Wilson's performance. Playing a regular character in a horror movie is easy, but playing a villainous character is not. She was brilliant and played a large part in making this film what it was.
Altogether I really enjoyed 'Ouija: Origin of Evil'. In a world where good horror films are becoming rarer and rarer we have to stop and truly appreciate the great ones that do come along. This was certainly one of them. Keep churning out films please Mr Flanagan.
Mike Flanagan just gets so close yet again, yet falls disappointingly
short. Oculus is still his best work, and the promise that both Hush
and this prequel to a PG-13 board game prequel show, is that if given
the right opportunity he might really be capable of a cold-blooded
This is a film that shouldn't exist, should never have gotten theatrical distribution and definitely shouldn't have attracted the likes of Flanagan (okay, he probably did this to increase his clout in the industry, but still). He musters some great work here, following familiar supernatural clichés but bringing his own touch to the proceedings.
The setting is beautiful, the characters likable and not completely square. The atmosphere is given time to build, he luxuriates in teasing and messing with audience expectations (as a way of spiting this, and goosing the audience lulled into a slow burn placation, he includes an explosive scene wherein the actual demon is seen shoving his fist down the little girl's throat. It's both too much and a necessary jolt at the time, a conundrum if ever there was one and a small encapsulation of everything right and wrong within this film).
It's too bad some of the nice work done in the first 2/3rds of the film is undone by a clichéd, boring, exorcism-lite finale. None of it is very scary, and it all has the feel of fitting into the "Ouija" franchise package, whatever in God's name that could mean. Considering the stakes here, what Flanagan does is still impressive.
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