Classic Movie Reviews

Classic Review: Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “Ouija: Origin of Evil” which originally appeared here.

In 1967 Los Angeles, widowed mother Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) unwittingly invites authentic evil into her home by adding a new stunt to bolster her séance scam business. When the merciless spirit overtakes her youngest daughter Doris (Lulu Wilson), the small family must confront unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.

If you would like to read my review of the original Ouija, if it still matters to you, click here. Because of the previous film’s mostly negative reception (I thought it was okay), many thought the series was over but here it is once again with “Origin of Evil”. This addition is much different from the previous film as it has nothing to do with it and is a prequel which also serves as a reimagining of the series with new characters and a new setting but of course, still involves a Ouija board.

The film has new characters and a new setting, involving the Zander family living in Los Angeles in 1967. Alice Zander runs a scam business out of her house, performing séances and readings for gullible customers. Alice gets more than she bargained for as one day, she brings in a Ouija board to help her business but once a spirit inhabits her younger daughter Doris (Wilson), her family must come together in order to combat the evil spirit.

The film starts off rather slowly as it introduced its new characters and setting. It introduced us to the Zanders and their scam business. Alice was a single parent after her husband (Michael Weaver) died. Losing their father greatly affected Doris and Alice’s other daughter Lina (Annalise Basso) since they all were very close. Doris’ eccentric personality made it hard for her to get along with other kids at school and Lina was just a normal teenage girl with a boyfriend named Mikey (Parker Mack). The film had to have some form of character development but all of this did not matter whatsoever.

The plot finally started once Alice brought in the Ouija board. All that previous character development was just a means to get to the board as Alice’s original intention in getting the board was to allow her children to speak to their dead father. Throughout most of the film, Lina was skeptical of what the rest of her family was doing but when Doris’ fascination with the board caused her to start acting strangely, she started to care more. What Alice thought was divine intervention, Lina thought there was something very wrong.

Things occurred predictably with the film going through many horror cliches. This made it not particularly scary as its different scares did not come as much of a surprise. It utilized mostly jump scares and visual scares, with the majority appearing in its various trailers. The effectiveness of its scares lived or died on the likability of the characters and it failed in this respect as the characters were not overly likable and make questionable horror decisions. Some may not like the ending as it was both stupid and nonsensical but features a post-credits scene that connects to the previous film (that I didn’t see).

The acting was decent from everyone with no one really standing out. The closest had to be Wilson as Lulu. She was the cliche younger child who gets caught up with the designated evil spirit. She was good as the vehicle for the film’s scares with her actions and many strange faces. The cinematography was decent, giving the film a 1960s horror look with the set design and costumes following suit.

Overall, this was a decent, albeit derivative and slow, horror film which is better than the original but still offers a lackluster story and characters.

Score: 7/10

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