I had initially planned on skipping Ouija: Origin of Evil. The previews for the film made it look nothing more than a cheap horror sequel that exists for a quick cash return only. Not to mention the predecessor film Ouija was horrible, only scoring a measly 7% on Rotten Tomatoes. But never have I been so wrong about a film.
Ouija: Origin of Evil stars Elizabeth Reaser as Alice Zander, a widowed mother who conducts staged séances out of her home to bring in extra money. Strange things start happening when Alice begins implementing a Ouija board to make her séances look more real, off the recommendation of her daughter Lina (Annalise Basso). It seems that Alice’s other daughter Doris (Lulu Wilson) can actually contact the deceased using the board, but at what cost?
The acting is phenomenal throughout Ouija, from everyone involved. I think special props should go out to Lulu Wilson, as she gives a very captivating and creepy performance. Henry Thomas as Father Tom also gives a remarkable performance. Some of the most tense scenes in the film involve Father Tom, and the tone with which he speaks makes it all the more suspenseful.
The setting of the film, which takes place in the late 1960’s, is dealt with and executed very well. Everything from the clothing, household trends, and appliances beautifully replicate a 60’s enviroment. I love when a film can make the viewer feel like they’ve actually been transported back into that time period, and Oujia defintely delivers.
The camera work is noteworthy in Ouija as well. There are a variety of clever angles and shots used to keep the viewer entertained. One particular shot I liked was of the Oujia board when it’s first introduced to our protagoinists’ home. The camera zooms in on the dimly lit table the board is sitting on, then moves to an overhead shot of the board quietly sitting. It’s very effective, and very powerful.
The film has a variety of scare tactics, most of them very clever. My favorite is that not every scare happening on screen is accompanied with an obnoxiously loud noise. Allowing for me to be afraid of what is happening on screen and not getting annoyed by jump scares.
I think the one of the weakest points of Ouija is the ending. It ends in the same manner as countless other horror movies of it’s type, which is a real shame. I don’t want to give too much away, but the direction the film had been going in previously feels different than how it should have ended. Overall I was pretty disappointed with the last ten minutes or so. The only saving grace of the ending for Oujia was the very last scare. I think this one single scare sums up how effective the film was at scaring the audience.
I recommend Oujia: Origin of Evil to any horror fan. Period. It represents in detail exactly how horror flicks should be scaring viewers. By showing things on screen that are actually scary, and not by relying on the jump scare. As a forever skeptical moviegoer, I can honestly say I was wrong about how bad this movie was going to be. I’m glad I had the opportunity to watch Oujia: Origin of Evil and hope others do too.