October 26, 2016

Ouija: Origin of Evil Review

Elizabeth Reaser and LuLu Wilson

Let us go ahead and deal with Ouija. It was a competent PG-13 horror flick perfect for tweenage slumber parties. Its overly complex world-building left horror’s current hot property, Mike Flanagan (Absentia, Oculus, Netflix’s must-watch Hush, the still unreleased Before I Wake, the upcoming Stephen King adaptation Gerald’s Game), and his co-writer, Jeff Howard, with a Sisyphean task. Somehow, they crafted a better haunted house out of that ridiculous mythology without any retconning whatsoever. The multitude of ’80s slasher sequels could only have been so faithful; they could never get their stories straight. 

Flanagan and Howard take the Doris Zander plot and run with it. The haunting performance by Lulu Wilson sells the terror (her beatific smile after doing something scary… brr). This horror sequel starts with a swell scary story and tells it with visual aplomb. Flanagan employs ’60s-style split diopter like De Palma himself, depth of field, evocative chiaroscuro and even visually striking credits. Just go ahead and think of Ouija: Origin of Evil as the Conjuring spinoff we deserve, not the Ouija sequel we expect.