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Ouija: Origin of Evil

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

The prequel to (in my opinion) one of the worst horror films in recent years. Is it as bad as the first, is it even worse, or is it, better?

The plot centers around a family that scams people into thinking that they can communicate with the dead, and will help them get closure with passed loved ones for a price. This goes bad when they decide to use a Ouija board in one of their scams and they accidentally awaken an evil spirit that haunts the family.

So I was not looking forward to seeing this film, in fact, the only reason I saw it was because my sister was home from college over the weekend and it was the only movie she wanted to see. So you can imagine that going in, I was ready to rip this film a new one, but then something peculiar started to happen, I started to like it.

First off, the performances are top notch for a horror film, especially in this today. While everyone in this film is good, the youngest girl in this film, holy sh*t. If I had to choose this years Oscar for best supporting actress, it would go to this girl, Alexis G. Zall, you are going places. I never thought I would say this, but she is actually on par with Linda Blair in The Exorcist, yeah, that's the kind of performance this is.

And Mike Flanagan's direction of the horror is brilliant. Everything is very well paced and shot, and not to mention, there wasn't a single cheap jump-scare in the film. Every scare was built up and payed off fantastically. He also frames the film very nicely, it was never obvious when something scary was about to happen, there are multiple details in the background that add to the atmosphere. And to add to the tension, he never used the music to scare us, whenever something scary was on the screen, the music didn't jump, they just hold on a scary image and really let in sink in to the point of maximum scariness. That also plays into the films editing, no shot is held to long, it all ends precisely when it needs to.

There are also a lot of really cool Easter Eggs to lovers of old cinema. the film is set in the 1960's, so they had the 60's Universal logo at the beginning of the film. There are even reel bounces, and even "cigar burns" for the projectionist.

The film does have one major flaw, the characters. While not terrible, annoying or unlikable, they are just beyond forgettable and boring. While I didn't want them to die, I didn't really care if they made it through the safely, with the exception of the little girl. They do actually try to add character but it's just not that interesting, and when I'm not invested in the slightest with the characters, I'm not really invested in what they're going through.

So, this might just be the greatest prequel/sequel/spin-off. of all time, as in, it took one of the worst horror films I've ever seen in my entire life and actually made one of the best horror films in recent years. I think it's safe to call that an improvement. This is one of the scariest films I've seen in years with great direction, good performances, and great understanding of the horror genre, all of these manage to over-shine it's almost complete lack of investing characters.