Mike Flanagan’s “Ouija: Origin of Evil”

There is evil everywhere around us. It is probably in the society you live in, in every one of us but observed predominantly within a closed enclosure like your house or even in the basement of your house which you forgot to even check when you entered it. There is no escape from its presence as long you do not evoke it and interfere with its existence.

Mike Flanagan brings back the heavily criticized first movie in the Ouija series from 2014 and tries his best to resurrect the reputation of the board, that was a trademark of Hasbro but gained a cult importance of its own. He and his writer Jeff Howard tries their best to wipe the bad memories by replacing them with nostalgia.

Nostalgia is the theme of “Ouija: Origin of Evil”- set in late 1960 where there are active space research and Nazi influence, the movie opens with a vintage logo of Universal Pictures and follows it up with the car models and dressing that reflects an era of its own.

The movie’s success in creating scare and horror is left on the shoulders of three women – a grieving mother, Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser), who is yet to recover from the loss of her husband and one who believes in the concept of helping other grieving people through a scandalous process of talking to spirits. Then there is an elder daughter, Lina Zander (Annalise Basso), who is caught between her young adult urges to make a boyfriend and helping her mother in the con activity.

But, the one that steals the show and a huge asset for the movie is Doris Zander (Lulu Wilson) whose performance could have made or broken the movie. But, Lulu Wilson was at her absolute best. The innocence and cuteness of being the youngest in a family that is coping with the grief and trying to make the world a better place. She gets caught up in the tangled mess when she breaks the rules of the board game that was recently introduced in the country.

There are traditional jump cuts, the scary sequences, the unknown body language of departed humans and then strange voices that fit the bill. But, the part that works for me was the revelation of how the spirit works though I am not sure of the factuality of it. The spirit unlike in traditional sense takes control of a body that they could channel their energy to convert into voices. The way to stop that is to seal the vocals of the body that were taken into control.

The movie is one of the best versions of spirit games that was written in the recent times until the point when the hell breaks loose. This is also the breaking point in the movie – the lead up was calm and composed. It gives you all the inputs that you needed to set up it right, then there is a sudden downward graph as the pace intensifies with no demanded urgency.

Overall, Mike Flanagan’s “Ouija: Origin of Evil” is a definite improvement over its predecessor. The movie works perfectly till the point the hell breaks loose with Lulu Wilson taking the accolades away for her brilliant, adorable but scary performance.

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PG-13 | Runtime: 99 Mins |

Direction: Mike Flanagan |

Screenplay: Jeff Howard |

Cinematographer: Michael Fimognari|

Editor: Mike Flanagan|

Distribution: Columbia Pictures |

Cast: Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson

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