Ouija: Origin of Evil: begins promisingly, ends ludicrously

Still from Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: Origin of Evil / Indiewire.com

Ouija: Origin of Evil tells the story of a family who accidentally invokes mischievous spirits through a Ouija Board in the late sixties. Director Mike Flanagan also directed Hush (2016), Absentia (2011) and Oculus (2013) – Hush is particularly notable because of its expansion on the genre with its own unique brand of horror plot points and protagonist/antagonist relationship.

The Zander family is comprised of widowed mother Alice played by Elizabeth Reaser, taking care of her teenage daughter Lina (Annalise Basso) and younger daughter Doris (Lulu Wilson). They put on fake seances to make money, but are shown to have a good heart off the bat – despite being con artists, Reaser’s character claims early on in the movie that they give these people closure and are therefore doing a noble service. Then, the Ouija board enters the scene via her daughter’s suggestion and things begin to take a turn (surprise).

True, the film is able to connect its audience with the Zander family; the people watching care for this widow through her struggles with grief and paying the bills, as well as raising two kids on her own. Despite this, as the film continues it is hard not to laugh at the state of things. The plot points begin as reasonable enough scenarios, suggesting that the film will take a realist approach to the supernatural horror story occurring – similar to the way that A Haunting in Connecticut took with its progression of supernatural events, where realistically drawn characters acting in realistically written ways to very scary and strange situations they find themselves in. Unfortunately, that realism does not last.

About half way through the film, the plot points in Ouija: Origin of Evil get completely out of hand. All semblance of magic realism is lost and the audience is left laughing at how ridiculous the film has become. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Ouija: Origin of Evil ended up being a fun movie because of its ludicrous plot twists and turns, but it does make it a comedy horror and not a scary horror film. Not only that, but throughout the entire second half the film relies almost entirely on jump scares. Like, literally every few minutes: jump scare. Again, not bad for a fun film to see, but not very inventive.

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