• Guy Jeffries

Ouija: Origin of Evil Review


Director: Mike Flanagan

Starring: Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Reaser, Doug Jones

Mike Flanagan give us the prequel to Stiles White's first and only feature debut, Ouija from 2014. This one goes into the history and origins of the first film, going into detail of the horrifying characters, returning to the same house 60 years ago.

We go back to find a single parent family who makes a small living from pretending to speak to the dead for clients by way of performing fake seances. The mother acting as medium whilst her two daughters pull strings to create the illusions.

Flanagan reunited with Oculus child star Annalise Basso, who's now not quite the child, playing the older teenager sister and could also be seen in last month's Captain Fantastic. She's brilliant, but the star and horror of the film is Lulu Wilson, who plays the impressionable younger girl with a keen interest of speaking to the spirits in attempt to speak with her deceased father. E.T.'s Henry Thomas is totally unrecognisable being all grown up and playing priest, it's hard to believe that he was once the alien befriending Elliot all those years ago.

Adding an Ouija board to the performance obviously leads to terrifying events opening a door for something else which takes hold of the little girl who then proceeds to spread the word. This much we know from the trailer, and is pretty much the whole basis of the story tying in with the previous.

It has elements from other horrors like The Exorcist and The Omen, actually using the classic vintage opening, with title credits and universal's old logo to boot. There's some good imagery that creates enough spooks to keep audiences glued to the screen but it is just another conventional horror that lacks any real lasting effect.

The performances are good, especially from both the girls who appear to be accustomed to the horror genre. Lulu Wilson is quite the scare, getting her big break in Deliver Us From Evil and is starring in next year's Annabelle 2. Horror films seem to be more frightening when using children.

It's suspenseful and scary in parts, but unfortunately predictable and even comical, but I think that was just my defence mechanism. Worth a watch but don't expect too much.

(Edit: It's been a couple of days now since I watched this and actually, the film did get me thinking about speaking with the spirit world. It's not based on a true story, gladly so, however the titular board game does exist and is now owned and produced by Hasbro,Inc.; yes the same company behind Transformers. Within the science realms it's characterised as pseudoscience and it is believed to work by the psychophysiological phenomenon, ideomotor effect. Scary stuff.

Another interesting fact about the movie itself, is Doug Jones, who plays what I can only describe as a ghoul also played the pale man and Fauno from Pan's Labyrinth, Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies and will be the incoming Bye Bye Man.)

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 7

Performance: 8

Direction: 7

Story: 7

Script: 7

Creativity: 8

Soundtrack: 7

Job Description: 6

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

65% 7/10

#MikeFlanagan #AnnaliseBasso #LuluWilson #HenryThomas #ElizabethReaser #ParkerMack #DougJones #TheNewtonBrothers