Ouija: Origin of Evil *1/2

It’s better than the 2014 original, and it’s still awful.

Is it worth $10? No

The season of fear is upon us. Soon you will have little ghosts and goblins, begging for sugary treats, at your door.

To get you in the mood, check out the latest haunted Hollywood's horrific offering, "Ouija: Origin of Evil." This prequel, to the 2014 film, gives an interesting backstory, but it ultimately falls flat, with typical horror movie tropes and weak writing.

In 1967, widowed mother Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two daughters, Paulina (Annalise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson), hold fake séances in Los Angeles. But not to intentionally scam or hurt people. They actually feel that they are helping people...and it doesn't hurt that it helps them make a few dollars to survive. After catching her teen daughter playing with an Ouija board, Alice decides to experiment and bring home an Ouija board, to add as a prop to their sessions. The youngest girl, Doris, attempts to contact her dead father, but another more malevolent spirit comes through posing as a "friend." Of course things go awry and end up possessing this innocent child. That's when the family discovers that there are more "friends" trying to get at them. In order to save Doris, they must find a way to stop these ghosts from taking root in our world.

Reaser is endearing as the mom. Basso is serviceable as the younger version of Paulina from the first film. And Wilson shows a sweet, yet mature, demeanor, that really sells her character and even gives a genuine creepiness to her performance. Henry Thomas, as a concerned priest and principal, does well enough in his role.

Director Mike Flanagan tries to add a ‘60s feel to the film. He adds period appropriate title graphics, cigarette burns (marks on the film that used to tell the projectionist when a reel of film was ending), and of course great attire and music. The film starts with a focused direction, but seems to lose its way entirely by the third act. Dialogue becomes cliché, characters do ridiculous things, even though they say they aren't going to (stop splitting up in horror movies!), and the creepiness becomes laughable, with reused jump scares and overly used CGI.

It's apparent the writers either got lazy or lost when your entire movie twist is bizarrely explained by a priest reading a Polish ghost's recently written journal. Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. Being a prequel, you already know the outcome, which when linked to the first film doesn't quite mesh seamlessly.

This film is far more superior than the original "Ouija," though, in pretty much every way. However, as horrible as the first film was, this one doesn't translate into a winner. Which is very unfortunate, because it started out promising.

You may want to find a good scare before Halloween, but "Ouija: Origin of Evil" is far from good or scary. A better idea would be to buy a Ouija board and hold your own séance. Just remember the rules: Don't play alone, don't play in a graveyard, and always say goodbye. No one in this film did... and look where they ended up. Actually, that's a better title "Ouija: follow the rules or all of this horrible stuff will happen to you." Ok, perhaps a bit too much.

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