Release Date: October 21, 2016
Cast: Lulu Wilson, Annalise Basso, Elizabeth Reaser, Henry Thomas, Doug Jones
Director: Mike Flanagan
Studio: Allspark Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Hasbro Studios, Platinum Dunes, Intrepid Pictures
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If Hasbro doesn’t make their boards outta creepy old wood to look like the one in this movie, then they are for sure making the wrong moves. Anyways, Ouija: Origin of Evil, the prequel to 2014’s Ouija is dropping and does it summon the spirit of a good time? OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOooooo! *insert spooky ghost chain sounds here*
The set up:
In 1967 Los Angeles, a widowed mother, Alice Zander, and two daughters, Lina (short for Paulina) and Doris, run a fortune telling business out of their home. They use various tricks to get across their powers, putting on a sham show to give their customers closure that they are not able to receive themselves with their lost husband/father. When the oldest daughter Lena messes about with a Ouija board at a friends house, they decide to add one to their act. As you’d expect, something wicked this way comes.
What follows is 2/3 of a pretty spooky movie and a later third that stumbles and falls with some tropes. The acting by the leading ladies are all solid, you can buy each of these women grappling with their loss in their own ways and the hope that the connection with the dead can bring them closure.
Lulu Wilson is great as an eerie little kid and that’s needed as she’s the main driver of the story. In fact, with the addition of the Ouija board to the show, Doris begins to act as a medium for real. The family uses this for fortune (able to pay off some bank loans) and help other members of the community.
Now at this point, if you’ve seen the original movie, you know where this is going. And I gotta say that’s where this prequel no doubt flounders. I can’t imagine this story being interesting past the scares to an audience who already knows how it is going to turn.
I hadn’t seen it (though I had listened to The Flophouse’s episode of it last year, check ’em out they are great). If you haven’t seen that one then the movie will be enjoyable enough but no need to rush to the theaters I don’t think.
Spoilers coming in hot here, but if you’ve seen the original almost none of it will be new to you:
As I said the movie goes fine until about the third act when they decide to answer too many damn questions. The ghosts they think they’ve been speaking with have not been who they thought JUST LIKE THE FIRST ONE (the husband, or the customers loved ones) they’re the crazed spirits of deceased people who were experimented on by a Nazi Doctor (yeah that’s right) and left buried in the walls in the basement.
This makes the house a graveyard JUST LIKE THE FIRST ONE. This may be a different take on the whole “House is on an old Indian burial ground” but really? A mad Nazi scientist torturer? That’s just feels like trying too hard.
This third act then features more possessions who either commit suicide or attempt to murder other members, all leading to the final showdown with older sister Lina killing her sister, then being possessed by the ghosts and killing her mother. All of this we know if we’ve seen Ouija 2014 since Lina’s character is there as an adult and does this info dump there.
The movie ends with a bit too long of a scene depicting Lina in the ol’ nuthouse being a crazed possessed girl. Again, this is to just tie it in neatly with the original but it could have spent less time doing so, and certainly doesn’t need the final jump scare of the movie. Ouija: Origin of Evil is a decent ghost movie, but a lackluster horror flick.