Ouija: Origin of Evil – 2 out of 5
When the original Ouija came out, I was less than impressed with the product. I didn’t think it was terrible but with a lethargic pace, no atmosphere, no adequate scares, and a cast that was kinda forgettable, the whole feature ended up feeling very generic. I’m not entirely sure why the film ended up getting a sequel in the form of a prequel because it wasn’t a runaway hit and reactions from both audiences and critics were mediocre at best. But, acting as if the horror genre isn’t already crowded with too many films that all look and feel the same, it was decided that we needed to learn more about the ghoul in the house and see more of the toy that you can buy in the board game section of your toy store. So, is Ouija: Origin of Evil another weak affair or is this one a step up?
|"Now let's begin this bullshi--I mean, communication with the spirits."|
|If kids weren't loud enough with regular sized|
In the 1960s, Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) works with her two daughters; Lina (Annalise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson), scamming folks out of their money by pretending to be a psychic that communicates with the deceased. However, after she decides she is going to incorporate a Ouija board into her act, she unknowingly invites a violent presence into her house—one that takes over her youngest; Doris. Soon, local holy man; Father Tom Hogan (Henry Thomas), reveals the truth over what is possessing the child and the supernatural forces that are closing in on all of them.
|I feel like someday in the future Ouija boards with have a dick icon so|
skeezy dude-bro ghosts can send messages of their dicks from beyond.
|First it was an alien and the government and now|
it's ghosts. This dude can't win.
Similar to the first film, Ouija: Origin of Evil isn’t really doing too much obviously wrong but it’s not doing a whole lot right either. It fixes a lot of things that hampered the first film but never to the extent that this is anything but a minor improvement. Overall, the film ends up falling flat and delivering about as many scares and creeps as the previous one did. One improvement that this prequel that acts as a sequel does is providing a story that flows fairly well. There are a lot of times, however, that the story and actions taken by this spirit that warranted some development or, at the very least, more moments of the thing being a terror. As it stands, there’s very few moments in the film’s build-up to the final act that really cements the stakes and establishes the conflict this creature has. There are some moments at play but they only really act as the bare minimum and it would have greatly assisted the feature with some more ghoulish gags.
|"Oh no! We're being haunted by a terrible looking CG ghost!"|
Origin of Evil does have a creepy moment here and there but the film is kinda light on the visceral scares and the tone of the film doesn’t really convey a sense of foreboding or dread—similar to the first film. Even where there are moments that should, in theory, be terrifying kinda feel like they are just lackadaisically put out there. Hell, there is even a moment where the characters themselves don’t look like they want to put in the effort to sell the scares as there is a sequence where a body comes crashing into the scene and the characters look like this wasn’t all that surprising to them.
|Way too mild of a reaction to the sight of this.|
Overall, Ouija: Origin of Evil isn’t really doing much wrong on its production front that instantly makes it a bad movie but it doesn’t feel like it’s doing too much right in order to make it a memorable one. The cast is decent but not very memorable, the story is serviceable but not very rich or developed and, aside from some limited creepy imagery, I really didn’t find the film that scary. It’s definitely easier to watch than the first film but, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not enough of an improvement to make the whole ordeal worth the effort.
|Okay, that's actually kinda creepy.|