Set in the 1960's, Ouija: Origin of Evil is the follow up to 2014's Ouija film. Independent from it's predecessor, Origin of Evil is the rare horror sequel that outdoes it's big brother by a huge margin. Director Mike Flanagan (Hush, Oculus) crafts a genuine and original film and is able to deliver it in a PG-13 package. The Zander family led by mother Alice (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two daughters, Lena (Annalise Basso) and the younger Doris (Lulu Wilson) are a family of fortune tellers. Alice contacts the deceased relatives of unsuspecting customers while her daughters pull the riggings of their set up room. Pretending to be the ghosts contacting the living is the scam they run and Lena is beginning to tire of it. Being a single mother who lost her husband and the father of the girls, Alice has to scrape by to pay bills. The setup is fresh and feels genuine.
Opening like a true 1960's Universal Picture from the title card to the color the film is presented, it feels authentic to the time period. The rebellious Lena sneaks out of her house late one night to attend a party. At this party, one girl has a ouija board game. The board isn't a 100 year old possessed board or one with magical powers, just one bought off a store shelf. Not much happens in this reading but, it gives Lena the idea of a new "prop" for her family's fake readings, a ouija board. Alice ends up purchasing a board and rigs it with magnets. The younger daughter Doris seems attracted to the board and uses it late one night alone. Doris becomes "possessed" by an unknown entity. The film doesn't use many age old horror tropes, which works in it's favor. Lulu Wilson as Doris puts in a fantastic performance. One she should be recognized for.
The family's priest Father Tom, Henry Thomas (E.T., Gangs of New York) becomes involved after Lena confides in him. Henry Thomas was almost unrecognizable as Father Tom and himself puts in a great performance. When Father Tom becomes involved, things move quickly. Doris is clearly possessed by something the board has summoned. What is it? What is the secret? It's a one we don't expect. At it's core, Ouija: Origin of Evil is a great horror film. Twist endings have been a trend in horror films and Ouija delivers it's own. It may be a bit darker than expected, it still works very well. Mike Flanagan has established himself in the horror genre and this is a solid addition to his resume. I can't wait to see what he does next.