Ouija: Origin of Evil is the follow-up to 2014’s Halloween Box Office No.1 Ouija. Rather than follow any of the original’s main characters, Origin of Evil is a stand-alone (but also prequel) story set in the 1960’s dealing with the family that became the ghosts in Ouija. It isn’t going to end well.
It’s 1967 and the Alice Zander is struggling financially after the recent death of her husband. She has daughters Paulina and Doris to take care of and to make ends meet, the three of them work as sham-mediums. Alice justifies her fraudulent trade believing she brings her clients a sense of relief and closure with their grief but as customer numbers dwindle and the purse strings are tightened further Alice buys a Ouija board to tempt more customers through the door. It’s not long before Doris tries to contact her dead father alone (breaking the board’s rules) and something rather nasty comes through the board claiming to be ‘a friend’.
The original Ouija was based on the Hasbro board game, which was based on the popular Victoria parlour game. It was a financial success (hence me writing this) but fared less well critically.
I’m happy to report that more care has been taken this time around to make it an entertaining experience. Director Mike Flanagan has clearly been allowed to stamp his artistic influence on the movie with the period setting making good use of a very colourful palette and great soundtrack. There are some lovely moments too with the lighting and cinematography adding to the richness of the autumnal setting.
The cast are great, particularly Lulu Wilson who plays Doris. She’s both wide-eyed and innocent and creepy as a possessed devil-child from hell. Her strangulation monologue to Pauline’s boyfriend is both chilling and wryly amusing thanks to Flanagan’s darkly comic script. The jump-scares are present but not over used. There are even some nice creepy moments that are allowed to play out and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Most horror fans will have seen it all before but Ouija: Origin of Evil is a fun Halloween treat to spill your popcorn to.