Get prepared for another round of Ouija madness after the October 21 release of Ouija: Origin of Evil, a prequel to the not-so-blockbuster 2014 Ouija. The new film, which is directed by Mike Flanagan and written by Flanagan and Jeff Howard, stars Elizabeth Reaser (Alice Zander), Annalise Basso (Lina Zander) and Lulu Wilson (Doris Zander). Thus far, reviewers are praising the film, not because it’s so terrific but because it’s better than the previous film.
This movie is based on the story of nine year-old Doris Zander whose widowed mother, Alice, works as a phony fortune teller and medium in 1967 Los Angeles. Alice’s two daughters, Lina and Doris, stage the tricks Alice uses to convince customers that she’s got a real connection to the afterlife.
The girls convince their mother to incorporate Ouija board readings into her practice and plot to rig the board with magnets to make it seem like it’s working. While using this ploy to bilk customers out of their hard-earned money, Alice accidentally contacts a spirit named Marcus who temporarily possesses little Doris. Alice ends the session without saying goodbye, which breaks what are presented as three “core rules” (as if demons would even consider abiding by them). The three rules are to always say goodbye, never play alone, and never play in a graveyard.
The story goes downhill from there.
Young Doris begins to use the board and contacts a number of spirits. A priest named Father Tom gets involved when Doris’ homework assignments cause suspicion at school, but eventually ends up possessed himself.
The three Zander women begin to contact who they believe is their dead husband/father, which eventually leads to Doris being fully possessed. She kills her sister’s boyfriend by snapping his neck.
Chaos ensues with all kinds of supernatural attacks by possessed family members. Lina kills both her mother and her possessed sister Doris (by sewing her mouth shut) and ends up in a mental institution after being convicted of murder. (Talk about a dark ending!)
In a review for Common Sense Media by Jeffrey M. Anderson, the movie is described as having “plenty of scares and creepy scenes, but they’re mostly bloodless.” The film does include some language but there is no sexual content.
“Overall, the movie is scary, with some weird/darkly funny moments, but it has bleak themes and ends on a downbeat note,” Anderson writes. “[T]he . . . death-heavy ending, makes the movie recommendable only to hardened horror fans.”
Notwithstanding the fact that it’s better than the last movie, the only good thing about the movie is that it correctly describes the kind of evil that can be conjured through Ouija boards, something that is well documented by exorcists.
However, in spite of the horror it depicts, children will still be tempted to play with the board for a “thrill” which is why this movie gets a definite thumbs-down from this reviewer.