By Megan Bianco
Very rarely does a schlocky cash-grab not only get a sequel, but a sequel that’s twice as good as the original. Earlier this year, it happened with 10 Cloverfield Lane, and now it’s happening again with Ouija: Origin of Evil. The original Ouija (2014) was a forgettable, paint-by-numbers spooky flick that somehow ended up getting a quality horror director, Mike Flanagan of Oculus (2013) and Hush (2016), for Ouija 2.
In 1967, Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) is a fortune teller who uses impressive, secret gimmicks with her daughters, Lina (Annalise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson), to help customers deal with their grief. Alice soon buys a new board game called Ouija that also supposedly speaks to spirits for a new trick. The game not only works, but seems to be spiritually connecting through Doris, who can now hear, see and talk to the dead.
Wisely, Origin of Evil has relatively nothing to do with the first movie, save for the very last scene, and instead Flanagan takes appropriate cues from The Exorcist (1973) and Poltergeist (1982) to give the film an eerie tone and setting. The film cleverly feels like it was actually filmed in the mid-20th century with vintage title cards and cinematography shot on film. With no big names in the cast, familiar faces Reaser and Henry Thomas effortlessly hold it together in between well-placed jump scares. Flanagan shows once again that he knows how to direct horror with mediocre material that would have otherwise been Hasbro product placement.
Photo: Justin M. Lubin/ 2016 Universal Studios