Scary and mind-boggling, Ouija: Origin of Evil is an eminently watchable movie that gives theater-goers and horror movie fanatics some satisfying scares. It stops short, however, of providing the sustained thrills and chills audiences crave. In 2014, Ouija featured the Ouija board, but failed to be even remotely scary or mind-boggling.
The movie may not even be considered to be within the horror genre, but it is hard to decide where to place it.
The differences between the 2014 Ouija and the newly released Ouija: Origin of Evil are telling, but they highlight the strengths of the current Ouija board movie. In fact, Ouija: Origin of Evil has moments that leave audiences with their eyes locked on the screen, hands clenching their seats, ready to jump at the slightest noise. Disappointingly, these moments did not occur often enough.
Ouija: Origin of Evil definitely has a strong background, history and storyline.
One challenge for the film is that it faces some strong competition coming from Annabelle, The Conjuring and Insidious.
Ouija: Origin of Evil takes place in a small town near Los Angeles in 1967, following widowed mother Alice Zander, portrayed by Elizabeth Reaser.
Zander buys the board as an addition to the many props she uses to scam her customers into believing that she is contacting their deceased loved ones.
The Ouija board, also known as a spirit board, is commonly associated with contacting the dead. The board is marked with yes, no and the letters of the alphabet. Using a planchette, or wooden piece, users believe they can communicate with the spirit world.
Horror movie fans know that spirits come with a lot of baggage. As Insidious taught us, “Once you reach out to one, you reach out to all of them.” The characters do exactly that—they reach out.
Alice follows two separate paths in her quest to contact the spirits. The first is merely an act as she attempts to fool her clientele into believing she can contact their loved ones. Then there are the times when she sincerely attempts to test the board’s powers and tries to contact her late husband.
After many failed attempts, she takes advantage of the ability her daughter, Doris Zander, has of using the board. Doris eventually succeeds, but later falls victim to the merciless spirit of her father and faces dire consequences as the spirit, who is not her father, overpowers her.
All in all, with the movie’s excellent acting and chilling plot, Mike Flanagan, the movie’s director, serves us horror on a silver platter.
Reaser also plays her role well, continuing to show audiences her ability to act well in any genre.
Despite Reaser, critics are mostly raving about Lulu Wilson’s performance as Doris. She not only delivers the portrayal of a girl who is chilling and sociopathic, but sweet and pleasant, setting the stage for the movie. As a new and upcoming young actress, she definitely proves remarkable.
In the film, she plays the younger sister who is used by her mother to complete the scams. She plays the sweet and loving sister while Lina Zander, portrayed by Annalise Basso, is the sadistic young child. Basso has been on the scene for about a decade now and was featured in Oculus, another supernatural movie directed by Flanagan.
Slightly lacking in this film was the sinister music that sets the mood and builds the suspense. There was music, but not enough to deliver a full dose of fear. All in all, Ouija: Origin of Evil certainly added a nice touch to 2016.