Twelve years after the tragic death of their little girl, a doll-maker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, where they become the target of the doll-maker's possessed creation, Annabelle.
A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
In 1967 Los Angeles, a young widow named Alice Zander works out of her suburban home as a spiritual medium, accompanied by her daughters, 15-year-old Paulina "Lina" and 9-year old Doris. The family is still reeling over the recent death of Roger, Alice's husband and the kids' father. At Lina's suggestion, Alice incorporates a Ouija board into her readings. While trying out the board, she unknowingly contacts a spirit named Marcus that begins to possess Doris. Alice receives a notice that the bank intends to foreclose on their home. Doris contacts the board for help, believing she is communicating with her dead father. The spirit leads her to a secret compartment behind the basement wall containing a pouch of cash. When she gives the money to her mother, the family has an Ouija session, believing they can contact Roger. When the board answers a question only Roger would know the answer to, a thrilled Alice begins believing that they are in contact with her dead husband..
In order to make the film appear more authentic for the time in which it is set (1967), cue marks, or "reel change" marks, are inserted at approximately every 20 minutes. However, the marks are oval when they should actually be circular, since this is a film presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and not in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The only time the marks should be oval is if a film is projected with an anamorphic lens. On an anamorphic film print, the cue marks are circular, but the anamorphic lens makes the circle look like an oval when projected on a screen. See more »
This prequel has no business being as good as it is.
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.
53 of 72 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this