A widow and her two daughters accidentally invite an evil
presence into their home after they use a Ouija board in a seance scam.
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Written by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard
Starring Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso,
Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Parker Mack
Prequel to 2014's Ouija
Based on the game from Hasbro
I've yet to see the first film in the Ouija franchise, but I'd heard nothing but bad things. That was why when Ouija: Origin of Evil came out, I was shocked to see not only a positive Tomatoes score, but consistent praise from critics everywhere. All that praise can be directed at Mike Flanagan, who managed to turn a ghost movie based on a Hasbro game into a movie that's actually somewhat scary. While not as terrifying as I'd hoped, Origin of Evil does boast its fair share of scares and is way better than it had any business being.
Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) makes a living performing fake seances for people in need of closure. When her teenage daughter suggests adding a Ouija board to the act, things start to get way too real. This is par for the course in movies like this, but things take a scary turn when Alice's youngest daughter Doris (Lulu Wilson) becomes a target for these spirits and is possessed. Wilson stands out as one of the most talented child actors working today. Her performance is why people are still talking about this movie. The visual of her mouth unnaturally wide open is nothing short of haunting, which is why I've included it above.
Ouija: Origin of Evil excels in character and scares, but there are just too many dull moments and confusing plot threads. What is the point of the Ouija rules if they never come up again? If the Ouija board is just a toy, why is this happening? Did it all happen at all? The third act becomes too muddled by trying to tie up everything that it doesn't really tie up anything. It sort of ruins the film, save for a few jump scares. It's still way better than most, thanks to Mike Flanagan, but it could've been so much more. The potential is there.