Ouij-ust Got Scared


When I walked into a theatre at 12:30 p.m., I was certain that a movie about an age-old board game wouldn’t scare me. Leaving the theatre after watching “Ouija: the Origin of Evil” was a different story.

A prequel to the 2014 poorly reviewed “Ouija”—which earned a four out of 10 stars on IMDb—this fresh take on the mysterious board game leaves its predecessor in the dust. Its nostalgic ‘60s feel, with the throwback studio logo, leaves the audience feeling like they just stepped into another era of horror movies such as “The Exorcist” or “The Shining”.

The film seems to begin with a setup for a boring night at the movies: classic suburbia flavor, the clichéd death of a loved one, the initial jump scares and a determined priest. But the movie diverges from the hackneyed horror movie with interesting camera angles, like sudden twisting, that drew me in.             

The movie is set in 1967 Los Angeles on a quiet street, with one slight deviation: mother and recent widower Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) is also a fortune teller and the head of a séance scam business.

Both her daughters, Doris (Lulu Wilson) and Lena (Annalise Basso) help her out with the family practice by conducting acts such as moving the table where Alice’s readings take place or blowing out candles.

The elder, Lena, appeals to the teenage audience, with relatable issues such as babysitting her sibling while her mom is away. Through the character of Lena, “Ouija” ultimately allows the audience, including older members, to connect with a normal individual in a movie focusing on the abnormal.

Even for this quirky family, life seems steady, but when Alice brings the Ouija board, the situation starts to go downhill. An evil spirit possesses Doris and wreaks havoc on her family.

Controlled by the spirit, Doris walks on walls, writes in perfect Polish and even speaks with the voices of dead loved ones—leaving her family, who although are well versed in the workings of the dead, in horror and confusion.

Horror movie junkies may have seen some major components of this thriller such as white eyes, possessed children and haunting voices. But director Mike Flanagan, who directed the box-office hits “Oculus” and “Hush,” uses these traits to his advantage, putting them in unique places and leaving the audience to hide under bags of popcorn and soft drinks. “Ouija: Origin of Evil” is the perfect Halloween night movie.

– Paige Halverson – Staff Writer –