Horror Movie Review: Ouija – Origin Of Evil (2016)

I’ve never understood the fear that people had towards Ouija boards. I know what many believe they are capable of but I could never comprehend why it was a bad thing. If the boards are capable of contacting spirits, either good or bad then it has the ability to prove that there is life after death. I’m not saying it would be particularly fun to have a demon haunting me. I’m just saying that it would be worth it to know that there was something after we take our last breath.

Apparently simple pieces of wood with writing upon them have the ability to contact spirits. This concept alone has induced great fear within a whole lot of people. Somebody thought they were scary enough to make two entire horror movies surrounding one. The first was Ouija, which released in 2014 to generally negative reviews. Ouija – Origin of Evil acts as a prequel to that film. At the very least, it can’t be worse…can it?

Set in 1967 Los Angeles, a widow named Alice Zander works out of her suburban home as a spiritual medium. She’s accompanied by her daughters, 15-year-old Paulina “Lina” and 9-year old Doris. Although they stage their séances, Alice’s real intent is to help people move on. The family is still reeling over the recent death of Roger, Alice’s husband and the kids’ father. After Lina suggests that Alice incorporate an Ouija board into her readings, Alice does so, and unknowingly contacts a spirit named Marcus that begins to possess Doris.

Alice receives a foreclosure note, meaning they may lose their house. Doris contacts the board for help, believing she is communicating with her dead father, and the spirit leads her to a secret compartment behind the basement wall containing a pouch of cash. When she gives the money to her mother, the family has an Ouija session, believing they can contact Roger. When the board answers a question only Roger would know the answer to, a thrilled Alice begins believing that they are in contact with her dead husband.

Soon, Doris becomes possessed by a shadowy spirit. A series of events lead the family to request help from Father Thomas, a local priest. He tests the spirit and comes to a startling realization. These spirits knew answers that only Roger would know because they have been watching the family since the day they moved in. Will they be able to save Doris from the evil demon? If you’ve seen the first film you’ll already know the answer.

If you’re going to make a horror movie based around an Ouija board, it makes much more sense to have it take place in 1967. I can completely buy people finding them terrifying in the 60s. However, people finding them scary in 2014? Not so much.

Ouija – Origin of Evil is a huge improvement over its predecessor. I genuinely think it does just about everything you could do in a horror film about an Ouija board. Mostly, it does those things really well. The way in which the family come into contact with the board felt really organic, it made sense. I like the setup of them running a spiritualist business out of their house.

Just like so many other modern horror films, Ouija – Origin of Evil manages to create a fairly creepy atmosphere in its first half. It takes a more minimalist approach and it benefits greatly with a decent amount of tension. Unfortunately, it throws it all away in the second half. You’ll have to endure some frustratingly bad CGI. In fact, it’s not that the CG is particularly terrible. I think that might be a little unfair. No matter how good it appears, it always looks fake and unrealistic.

Why do these movies always lose all sense of subtlety? It’s like they simply run out of ideas and just throw a bunch of things at the screen in hopes that it will be scary.

Basically, I really enjoyed the first half but the second not so much.

I will praise the performances in the movie, particularly the children. Child actors can be hit or miss but Lulu Wilson who plays Doris is really outstanding.

Ouija – Origin of Evil is undoubtedly a better movie than Ouija. It does a really impressive job with the story and how it leads in to the sequel. Great prequels make their sequels better and I do feel that this film does that. It’s just such a huge shame that the sequel doesn’t deliver. What you’re left with is two pretty average horror movies that are not particularly memorable. Still, what else can you really do with an Ouija board?

Ouija - Origin Of Evil
  • 6/10
    The Final Score - 6/10
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