DIRECTOR: Mike Flanagan
Alexis G. Zall
Alice Zander and her two daughters, Lina and Doris, are still coming to grips with and trying to recover from the tragic death of her husband and their father. Alice is a con-artist fortune teller, and the family make their money by making people believe they are communicating with their deceased loved ones. When Alice purchases the board game Ouija to assist with their seances, little do they realise that they've invited in a much darker entity into their home.
It's been roughly two years since the first Ouija movie was released into theatres and I cannot for the life of me remember how the film played out or even ended. The film was such a poorly made horror film that I think I may have tried to black out much of what happens in the final movie. I just remember that I didn't enjoy it at all. When it was announced that another Ouija film was on its way, I had not a single hope in the world that the movie would be good.
When it was announced that Mike Flanagan would be helming the prequel of Ouija, I got a little more excited about the possibility that he may be able to turn this series around. When the film was eventually released to positive reviews, I really began to hype the movie up. I had heard a lot of the reviewers call Ouija: Origin Of Evil one of the scariest films of the year. So to say I was excited was an understatement. The hype machine was well and truly in motion.
After I was done watching Ouija: Origin Of Evil, I was at a complete loss. I sat there wondering if I had just witnessed the same movie as a lot of other horror fans. The initial thoughts once the credits began to roll was that I had clearly witnessed a film of a much higher calibre than the original but was this prequel overhyped by critics and horror fans due to the original being so terrible that anything that came after it would've looked positive?
My favourite aspect of Ouija: Origin Of Evil was the production design. Being that the film was set in 1967, and Mike Flanagan and Co. have put together a movie that feels very much a part of that time. The homes, automobiles, and sets all looked authentic. I was completely consumed by the look of the film. I'm sure the movie had a goof or two in the background, but I didn't notice any of that while watching the movie. The film just looked fantastic.
I also really enjoyed the almost "Grindhouse" visual aesthetic of Ouija: Origin Of Evil. The cigarette burns that are used in the corner of the film stock which end up making many more appearances throughout or the somewhat choppy editing when the movie would cut to the next shot or scene gave the movie that added element that we were watching a movie from that decade and time. I thought it was an excellent technical touch to the movie by Mike Flanagan.
The acting in the movie is also fantastic. I thought Elizabeth Reaser was great as the con-artist mother and fortune teller. Towards the end when it's revealed what has now possessed the daughter, I felt her acting was incredible. Both of our young actresses Lulu Wilson and Annalise Basso were both fantastic. Lulu Wilson looked like she was having a blast with her villainous role. Henry Thomas was also great in his supporting performance as a priest.
I think where the movie falls short, is when it's trying to be a genuinely scary and a suspenseful horror film. As I watched the movie, I was wondering if the movie was building to some really horrifying and creepy third act. Sadly, the moment, it never came. The movie for the entire hour and forty minutes didn't get me on the edge of my seat once. I was just so disappointed as I know Mike Flanagan can do terror well. He just missed the mark for me with this movie.
Lastly, I think the visual effects in the movie may have played a part in making a lot of the scenes that were meant to come across as terrifying play almost comical and cheesy. I really think the impact of the more horror-esque moments are lessened by the little girl with a stretched agape mouth or her sharp-toothed grin. This wasn't so much scary as it was almost funny. This is sadly no Hush or Oculus regarding thrills and chills. On a repeated viewing, the film still fell short when it came to scares.
DEATH TOLL: 4
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A demon punches his arm down a little girls throat.
- A kid slingshots himself in the face with a rock.
- A man is thrown over a banister and is hanged by a noose.
- Someone is thrown down the stairs and breaks his neck.
- A little girls mouth is stitched up.
- Someone is stabbed in the stomach.
Ouija: Origin Of Evil is a movie that I was really excited to see. The reviews were very positive, and I had high hopes going into the film. After watching the movie, I was left a little disappointed with the final movie. While the production design, acting, and the visual aesthetic put this movie just over the line and into passable territory, the movie lacks what every good horror film needs and that's to be a genuinely frightening and scary experience. I wanted to be terrified and I wasn't with this film. This movie was entirely devoid of suspense.