Review: ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ is Better Than Expected

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Published October 28, 2016
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Ouija: Origin of Evil successfully continues the Ouija franchise and comes out right in time for Halloween season. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
movie review ouija: origin of evil halloween

Ouija: Origin of Evil successfully continues the Ouija franchise and comes out right in time for Halloween season.
Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Ouija: Origin of Evil is a prequel to the 2014 horror film Ouija. This prequel takes place in 1965 Los Angeles, and it follows a widowed mother and her two daughters who run a scamming business. The business involves the family inviting people over to talk to dead spirits to ultimately give the guests closure. When the mother brings home a Ouija board one day, the youngest daughter, Dolores, experiments with it and she eventually gets overtaken by a spirit. This leads the family to get terrorized by unknown evil forces.

Even though I did not see the 2014 horror film, I was curious to see how this prequel would turn out. What made me intrigued to see it was that Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush) was going to be the director, and he is a very talented horror filmmaker. After seeing Ouija: Origin of Evil, I can confidently say that he is indeed a talent that mainstream audiences need to keep an eye on. Ouija: Origin of Evil is a very well made horror film with terrific performances and fantastic direction.

Elizabeth Reaser, who plays the mother who witnesses the evil acts take place in the film, does a really great job. She portrays a mother who is trying to do her best for her kids despite the tragedy they went through, and she pulls it off really well.

Annalise Basso, who was previously in “Oculus,” is terrific in this film once again. She really nails the part, and I hope to see her in more films because she is a fantastic actress. Henry Thomas, who plays a principal and Father in Dolores’s school who starts to get involved in what is going on, is also strong in his role.
The standout by far is Lulu Wilson, who plays Dolores. She gives a terrifying and excellent performance, especially from an 11 year old.

What I also really appreciated about the film was how well it was directed. There is a big lack of jump scares, and Flanagan makes the film scary by creating suspense and relying on the atmosphere.

Furthermore, Flanagan does a wonderful job of making the film feel like it is from the 1960’s. Similar to his other films, he relies more on characters than jump scares and as a result, we care about the characters when they are in danger. Many horror films have clichéd characters that are unlikeable. Thankfully this does not apply to Ouija: Origin of Evil.

As far as flaws go, this movie does have some clichés. It is a somewhat formulaic horror film. There is a shot of CGI that is towards the middle of the film. It’s not a huge complaint, but I could not help but think that it was very noticeable.

2016 has been a spectacular year for horror films, and while I may not put Ouija: Origin of Evil up there with “The Conjuring 2” or “Don’t Breathe,” I would highly recommend this movie. It showcases that Flanagan knows what he is doing in the horror genre and it deserves more money than what it has made this weekend.

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