For the full Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil,’ check out the video below. Read on for our mini-review!
It’s very rare for sequels to surpass their predecessors. Aside from gems like ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Superman II,’ sequels are usually a frustrating exercise in diminishing returns. This is especially true when said sequels are actually prequels, though somehow ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ manages to escape this particular curse. For a follow up film that sheds light on the original’s premise, ‘Origin of Evil’ is actually pretty damn decent. With October bringing our need for spooky cinema to the forefront, this new Ouija-verse film definitely delivers.
So, the setup… In the first film (2014’s ‘Ouija’), a group of teens find a Ouija board their recently departed friend left behind. The circumstances behind her death are mysterious and the teens use the board to try contacting her. Evil spirits are called forth instead and calamity ensues. But where did those spirits come from? Why are they so pissed off? And why do they keep sewing peoples’ mouths shut? ‘Origin of Evil’ lends explanation to all of this and more. Fire up the TARDIS because we’re headed back to the 60’s!
Recently widowed Alice (Elizabeth Reaser) makes ends meet by offering psychic readings to the grieving in need of closure. Unfortunately, the psychic gift that runs in Alice’s family seems to have skipped a generation, leaving Alice in a position where she must fake the séances. Assisted by her daughters Lina (Annalise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson), Alice’s readings are mostly convincing but the act is getting old and clients far between. So after Lina plays Ouija with some friends one night, she tells her mother to spruce up the act with said spirit board. What could go wrong?
So, so much, it seems. You see, there are rules to Ouija: never play alone, never play in a graveyard, and always say goodbye. And we all know what happens when you fail to follow rules in a horror movie: you get gremlins! Or, in this case, evil spirits that want to kill your whole family. So when young Doris starts playing with the board alone, everything obviously goes to hell. People die, strange powers are channeled, and mouths start melting shut: sorry kids in 2014, Doris from the 60’s just royally screwed you.
Without going into spoilers, we’ll just say this: ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ subverts some of the normal tropes we see in horror films. The film doesn’t necessarily avoid them (see: creepy girl doing supernatural things) but they’re done in a way that’s kind of refreshing. And anchored by the stellar acting of Reaser, Basso, and Wilson, it’s actually believable that this poor family is besieged by evil. So if you’re looking for something to spookify your Halloween, you’ve absolutely found it in ‘Origin of Evil.’ Enjoy!
Written by Brad Harris, Movie Bears Podcast