October 27, 2022

Ouija: Origin of Evil

2016 / Mike Flanagan / Netflix / PG-13

 

Quick Thoughts
  • The cast is familiar.

  • What is this a family operation?

  • The 1960s is a fantastic aesthetic.

  • That's one way to ask a girl to dance.

  • If my daughter finds money in the walls I'm not asking questions, just celebrating.

  • Mike Flanagan gets away with so much in this PG-13 sequel to Ouija.

  • Venom, is that you?



Mike Flanagan is the kind of director that can adapt any story into a thought-provoking stylized horror/thriller. It’s pretty much his calling. He took on the impossible task of blending The Shining, and Doctor Sleep, both the films and the King novels, into a cohesive narrative. The amount of talent this man has is admirable, we can trust him with nearly any franchise. He proves that here with Ouija: Origin of Evil.



I’m writing this with no knowledge of the 2014 Ouija film, other than what the folks on IMDB say, and they think it is absolutely abysmal, which I trust is most likely the case. As Ouija: Origin of Evil progresses through the story, and we, the viewers, experience the supernatural, it’s easy to see what tropes rolled over from the original film into Flanagan’s prequel: white eyes, stretched faces, and jump scares. Flanagan’s execution is nearly flawless. His scares are impactful, and his story is winding.



We follow a small family mourning the loss of their father/husband. If you’ve seen other Flanagan films you will recognize some of the cast. He tends to use actors he’s comfortable with and that allows the team to bring out the best in each other, while also sharing a vision. The child begins experiencing the supernatural after their mom purchases an Ouija board. It’s not long till the little girl seems to be possessed and chaos erupts in the home. With the help of a priest, the older sister risks everything to expose the evil in their home.



This film has some corniness sprinkled in here and there. There’s a scene outside of the school with the priest that plays out like a lifetime movie, the music just misses at times. Another interesting decision is the love story side plot, which never really comes to fruition and feels very lifetimey. Flanagan strived to make this film look like it was shot in 1971, so he uses many shooting techniques to make us believe that. I like how this film is shot, it all feels quite natural to the 1960 aesthetic. What I don’t like is the odd watermark that appears in the corner of the frame every few minutes. You can tell it was added in post, and it lacks any kind of effectiveness. These complaints are all minimal when it comes to the overall experience. If you're a fan of Flanagan, you can't go wrong with this one.


My daughter is acting not unlike the little girl pictured here. Do I...

  • Perform an exorcism immediately.

  • Wait it out, it's just a phase.



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