Ouija: Origin of Evil
Ouija: Origin of Evil is surprisingly more effective than its predecessor. Writer/director Mike Flanagan brings a level of class and suspense in his directing and writing, which makes Origin of Evil a throwback slow-burn horror flick with a few solid scares, but mostly strong performances all-around.
I’d be lying to you if I said I walked into Ouija: Origin of Evil expecting anything more than recycled cinema garbage. The first film, “loosely” based on the once-popular board game wasn’t an awful horror flick by any means, but your typical run-of-the-mill batch of PG-13 scares and jumps.
I honestly didn’t mind Ouija, but that’s also because I went in expecting very little and walked out somewhat surprised, but mostly just glad that it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
Fast forward to Ouija: Origin of Evil, a prequel that takes the “franchise” in a rather unique direction. Origin of Evil is almost nothing like the original film, trading out typical jump scares and intro-level acting for a film that’s much more invested in its characters.
Origin of Evil might almost come off as boring to most modern day horror goers, because it advances its characters in a much more natural way, slowly revealing the scares and making way for the eventual jumps and creepy moments.
That’s not to say that Origin of Evil doesn’t have enough scares, but it certainly doesn’t throw them at you as carelessly as the original.
It’s also drenched head-to-toe in a 60s horror vibe, from the actual time and setting of the film, to that “fake” look of shooting and presenting on film. The intro Universal logo and title card are decked out in a familiar Grindhouse fashion and there’s even fake cigarette burns throughout the film to indicate a reel change.
It’s an odd, but effective choice that makes the film at the very least look and feel different.
Director Mike Flanagan is becoming somewhat of a modern horror movie name, having dipped his toes in the genre several times, including the theatrical release of Oculus and the continuously-postponed Before I Wake.
Ouija: Origin of Evil is his latest and I must say that it works because of his writing and directing. Generally, cheap studio horror films like this hire no-namers or stick with the cheapest option, especially for a cash-grab sequel, yet Universal has oddly enough selected a veteran of the genre.
I know I probably shouldn’t be talking so quickly about the eventual sequel, but do you think Universal will continue down this path and hire unique and interesting horror directors to try and put their own stamp on the series? Will the Ouija series be the next Saw or Paranormal Activity in terms of giving us a yearly dose of spooks and scares?
I don’t think there’s enough material to make this a full-blown series, but I wouldn’t put it past Universal, depending on Origin of Evil‘s box office intake.
Ouija: Origin of Evil is that rare horror sequel that has no business being as good as it is, especially when compared to the original. Director Mike Flanagan and his talented cast has managed to create a horror flick that’s full of atmosphere and cemented with a decent enough story that makes killing an hour and a half not too bad.
Will I watch Origin of Evil again? Probably not. Do I feel that it’s a memorable and amazing horror film? Not exactly.
But it is good and it might just be the closest thing we’ll get in terms of a horror movie in theaters around Halloween and it doesn’t pain me to say that it’s a solid option for those looking to get scared this season.