Thursday, April 27, 2017

Movie Review: Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) - Directed by Mike Flanagan; Written by Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard; Starring Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas.

By Kenny Howell

The cards were stacked against Ouija: Origin of Evil, but not because this is a sequel to a horror movie about a board game.

I didn't even see that film, but we all are aware of what a Ouija board is, the famous mystical game that supposedly can contact the dead. It always made me laugh because I wonder how Hasbro makes sure it has dead communicating abilities once it leaves the factory line. Do they have some kind of wizard staffed to make sure it is perfectly haunted before it goes through?

So all that aside, to my surprise, Ouija: Origin of Evil, a sequel to a movie about a Hasbro board game that is supposed to be able to contact the dead (presumably haunted by a Hasbro wizard), is actually pretty good. Director Mike Flanagan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jeff Howard, realizes his source material is wide open, and he definitely takes it to some cool places. You still have the modern horror tropes, like the little girl being the one possessed, but he really knows how to maximize it and turn this into a cool little horror flick.

This sequel takes you back to 1967 Los Angeles, as a "psychic" named Alice played by Elizabeth Reaser (Easy), brings in an Ouija board to enhance her business, which she runs with her two daughters. She is a scam artist, as all psychics are, but things take a turn when the board starts doing things to her youngest daughter Doris. Doris has started seeing and talking to her father, a man who has been dead for several years, and lets her mom and sister know about it. Alice asks very specific questions that her daughter wouldn't know, which she answers correctly, but the father isn't all that is there. There is a demonic presence that needs something from them, and he doesn't seem all that nice.

Like I said, expectations were low for this, despite the fact that I had read good things. But it surpassed even the mild hope I had, and while it isn't in the elite horror movies of the last few years, it is certainly one of the better ones.

Rating: ***

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