Title: Ouija: Origin Of Evil
Release Date: October 21, 2016
Director: Mike Flanagan
Release Format: Theatrical
Allow me start out this review with some blunt honesty; Ouija (2014) is one of the worst horror films of the last few decades. Furthermore, the film has no creativity, no sense and not a single genuine scare in its entire runtime. It is garbage and completely deserves its current 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m sorry, the movie still angers me to this day especially since it was apparently successful enough to get a prequel. I mean, sure because the first one didn’t piss off audiences enough right? Here’s some more blunt honesty for you; I hate Platinum Dunes. This company has taken it upon itself to remake some of the best horror films ever made. This, of course, resulted in some of the worst remakes ever made, but I digress.
So, with that in mind, you can probably guess that I had no intention of seeing this movie. However, just as I did with the first film, I sat down and watched it, saying in the back of my mind “there’s no way a movie is going to scare me with something I can get at a store for $10.” Well, ya might as well just give me the crow now so I can shove it down my throat along with all of my pride. Ouija: Origin Of Evil scared me with something I can buy at a store for $10. It is one of the best horror films in years and one of the best sequels I have ever seen, period.
This film is remarkable to me. I can’t think of another sequel that has shattered the life-force of its horrendous predecessor in every possible way. It’s one thing to compare Alien to Aliens; both of them are fantastic movies. This is a case where the first film is bad on an unwatchable level and the second film is flat out amazing. Ouija: Origin Of Evil is a prequel to the 2014 abomination that finds a mother struggling with her two daughters after her husband’s death. For a profession, she performs fake seances but brings an Ouija board into her act to liven it up. However, when the youngest daughter becomes attached to the Ouija board, supernatural elements come to light.
Let me make this perfectly clear; jump scares are not scary. It is a cheap scare tactic used when there is nothing actually scary on screen. They’re not frightening, they’re not shocking, they are just annoying. Whereas Ouija (2014) had nothing but jump scares, Ouija: Origin Of Evil doesn’t have a single one. When director Mike Flanagan shows something frightening on screen, he trusts that the visual is enough. He doesn’t accompany it with a loud blast of music so the film is actually allowed to be scary on its own merits. This is in complete opposition to the original film, which I’m pretty sure set a record for most jump scares in a horror film.
Elizabeth Reaser is great as this mother whose trying to keep her and her kids’ lives afloat. Just as she was in Oculus, Annalise Basso does a terrific job as the older sister. However, the stand out performance is LuLu Wilson as Doris. This has got to be the creepiest kid I’ve seen in a horror film since Heather O’ Rourke in Poltergeist. There’s one scene in particular where she’s talking to her sister’s boyfriend that sent chills down my spine. I felt myself sinking into my chair during most of her scenes. The thing that’s so intriguing about it is that Mike Flanagan doesn’t have her using a creepy voice. Any lesser film regarding possession would have done this but Ouija: Origin Of Evil strays from it. I will be seeing this little girl in my nightmares as a result.
The atmosphere of the film is absolutely engrossing. The house in the first film was horribly lit most of the time and thus we as the audience were completely robbed of an atmosphere. In this prequel, Mike Flanagan’s slick directing style almost makes the house a character in its own right. This is especially relevant in the latter half of the film when the family begins to discover what’s happening. Mike Flanagan also does a wonderful job at recreating 1967. Every frame looks like it’s from that time period. Even the production logos and opening credits were callbacks to opening credits of old.
If I have any complaints with the film it’s that there were a couple moments of CGI usage that were unnecessary. One, in particular, was a CG’d monster played by Doug Jones that appears for a split second in a mirror. As much as I love this movie, that was pretty stupid. However, it’s only on screen for a second or two and doesn’t distract from anything so it’s hardly worth complaining about.
Overall, Ouija: Origin Of Evil is a remarkable horror film that surpasses it’s predecessor in every aspect imaginable. Despite my issue with the CGI in some scenes, I can’t give this anything lower than a perfect score. The fact that a prequel like this came along after a predecessor that was beyond terrible, it’s nothing short of amazing to me. I never thought I’d be telling you all to see a horror movie based on a ten dollar board game. I never thought I’d be telling you to see a movie released by Platinum Dunes. Well, that day has actually come. Pigs are flying, Hell is freezing over and I’m pretty sure I just became a monkey’s uncle. Ouija: Origin Of Evil, whatever you have done to me, I like it.
- Great Acting
- Great Atmosphere
- Not A Single Jump Scare
- Well Written & Directed Story
- Surpasses Its Horrible Predecessor In Every Way
- A Few CGI Images That Simply Weren't Needed
- ... yeah, I got nothin'
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.