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Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Tonight's Feature Presentation

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (2016)

Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Parker Mack

Written By: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard

Directed By: Mike Flanagan

The Shot

Ouija: Origin of Evil is a rare gem among horror movies.  It’s a very good standalone period horror flick that works well whether or not one has ever seen or even liked the film to which it’s a prequel, and absolutely worth the time for anyone who’s got a hundred minutes of methodical creep-out time to spare.


The Highball

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

MONTEREY JACK.

Tasty on a snack cracker.


Pairs Well With...

BRANDY OLD FASHIONED.

A period cocktail suits this picture quite nicely.

Do you know what it feels like to be strangled to death?

 

Two years ago, Ouija came into theatres as a pleasant Halloween surprise: a new horror flick made in classic 1980s formula style with a hook capable of potentially supporting a franchise.  This year, the studio gets to prove the viability of that last supposition courtesy of a new prequel: Ouija: Origin of Evil.

For my money, it works very, very well.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is like a particularly tasty trick or treat sampler bag: it’s got something for everyone.  Like the first movie, it manages to bring on the creepy despite having to behave under the constraints of a PG-13 rating.  For those who remember and enjoyed that first film, it plays well as a prequel.  For those who didn’t see or even those who flat out didn’t like the first film, it plays well as a standalone feature that’s better than the original and really doesn’t need it to succeed.  For those who like modern formula, this movie has you covered, albeit lightly, since it also performs the brilliant trick of playing as though it were filmed during the period in which it happens: the year 1967.  (The very few modern effects that creep in are easy enough to let pass.)

Regardless of how one chooses to approach Ouija: Origin of Evil, it is, against all of the odds, a really good horror flick.

The story is good, thoughtfully detailed, and outstandingly paced, with only one real (albeit unfortunately placed) bump in the road.  The primary characters are interesting, well developed, and worthy of the audience’s sympathy.  The horror elements combine a good mix of atmospherics, jump scares, and utterly unnerving creepiness.  And all of the performances are from top to bottom a totally spot on.  (Why yes, that is an all-grown-up Henry Thomas – Elliott from E.T. – playing the lonely widowed priest.)

I do want to give a shout to Elizabeth Reaser as the story’s grounding center, the well-meaning-charlatan-medium Alice Zander, but without question, the true highlight performance here is that of child actor Lulu Wilson, who portrays Doris, the young girl whom the film’s spirits ultimately choose as their favorite vessel.  Her work is nothing short of incredible, with the film’s ultimate highlight being her delivery of an extended monologue in which she painstakingly describes the process of death by strangulation from the victim’s perspective, a scene which must now stand as one of the all time great single moments of modern horror.  And no, I do not say that lightly.  The scene is that good, and for serious horror fans, it makes Ouija: Origin of Evil worth experiencing just for that one moment alone.

Fortunately, though, there’s plenty more good stuff to be experienced here.  I’m not saying that it’s perfect – the “reminder device” is rather overdone and the climax feels a wee bit rushed – but whether or not one has seen what came before and indeed even if one hated what came before, Ouija: Origin of Evil is a very cool horror flick done in classic style that delivers the creepy goods.

I foresee a continued future for this franchise…

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, October 31, 2016

Halloween Night


You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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