In 1960s California, a fake medium’s daughter tries to communicate with her late father through a Ouija board, but unleashes a demon instead.
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An enjoyable supernatural horror that doesn’t rely too heavily on jump-scares
I feel I should start this review by saying that I have never seen the 2014 film “Ouija” so this will not be a comparative review nor will I be tying up any links in the plots of the two films. So if that’s why you’re here then look elsewhere but if you just want to see a standalone review of the 2016 prequel then please read on!
“Ouija: Origin of Evil” is set in the 1960s and, from the outset, director Mike Flanagan makes sure you know this. The opening Universal logo is a grainy and old version and there are even the ‘blips’ in the corner and a flicker as the movie ‘moves on’ to the next reel. These are all nice little touches, but what about the story? The film begins with a seance where we meet Alice, the mother of the family and then soon discover it’s all a scam and her daughters Lina and Doris are her helping hands. It’s a pretty intense start to the film and it got me hooked right from the outset.
When the older daughter Lina ends up getting in trouble for using a ouija board at a friend’s house they decide to incorporate one into their act but then the weird things start to happen… I’ve said before in reviews that I find kids in horror films utterly creepy so you can imagine my delight when Doris, the younger daughter, starts to use the ouija board after creeping down to it at night. It’s all down hill from there – Doris meets a new friend via the board and appears to be a link between the spirit world and the physical world – this new friend who also shows her where a massive stash of money is in the cellar so they can pay their bills.
As the film progresses there is a lot of suspense and there is a great deal of character development – something I find Flanagan is incredibly skilled at. Throughout the film the musical score is used to great effect with eery piano and strings at regular points but the film also knows when silence is even better.
Partway through the film there is a moment where we get to see ‘The Baddy’ and it was at this point my heart sank. Not because it was terrifying (it wasn’t) but I’m always more scared of something I can’t see as it plays on my fear and imagination much more. The creature is what someone else thought was scary, not what I thought was scary. However, my worries were unfounded as, even with the reveal, the film still managed to be scary right through to the end. While there are a number of jump scares, the film doesn’t rely on these; instead using great storytelling, pacing and camerawork to scare the viewer.
“Ouija: Origin of Evil” made for an entertaining, scary, clever and enjoyable supernatural horror. The cast, the score and the story were all enjoyable and the film just looks and feels creepy throughout. As a standalone film it works just fine but if you’ve seen the original movie then there may be even more for you to enjoy. Highly recommended for a halloween movie night!
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!