HOLLYWOOD—Halloween might be far behind us, but for those who might still be looking for a great scare or two be weary of the horror flick “Ouija: Origin of Evil.” For starters, this isn’t a sequel people; it’s a prequel, to the 2014 flick “Ouija” where a bunch of teens unleashed evil courtesy of an Ouija game board. This time around the horror revolves around Alice Zander (Elisabeth Reaser) and her two daughters Paulina (Annalise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson).
Alice and her clan earn a living by hosting fortune readings and conducting séances to earn spooks. Yes, as a spectator that job description alone is frightening, but you do what you have to do to put money on the table. In the midst of an supernatural event, Alice’s daughter utilizes an Ouija board that unleashes an evil spirit that takes a liking to Doris. A common theme in horror is the innocence of a child being threatened, which “Origin of Evil” places front and center for its narrative.
Watching this flick, I echoed the madness of the film to “The Conjuring 2,” which had a child at the forefront of the narrative. However, the slight difference between both films was the character development was much stronger in “The Conjuring 2,” not to mention the scares were a lot more intense. Doris begins to display odd behaviors that grab the attention of Father Tom (Henry Thomas) who senses something sinister developing.
Alice is oblivious to the fact that her daughter is not displaying normal behavior. Instead of seeking treatment, she utilizes Doris as a tool in her quest to continue to communicate with the dead. Bad idea Alice, very bad idea. The problem with “Ouija: Origin of Evil” is that it goes from supernatural to a slasher flick in my personal opinion.
There are a few scares that will send chills down the audience’s spine, but those spooks are not consistent. If the script stayed on a clear path and didn’t venture too much in a territory that didn’t seem too far-fetched I would argue the movie would be entertaining. When I think of fear, a Ouija board is indeed something that is scary, the one caveat with “Ouija: Origin of Evil” is the focus immediately moves from that to attempting to showcase the bond between mother and daughters, but it’s not as fully fleshed out as one would hope.
Not to spoil the viewer, the flick has a surprise ending that might surprise you, but the twist is not so big that you’ll be talking about it for weeks or months to come. “Ouija: Origin of Evil” finds a way to scare the audience, but not enough for it to be a horror classic.