Ouija sequel capitalizes on Halloween hype

“Ouija: Origin of Evil” is a worthwhile horror watch this Halloween season.

The sequel far outperformed the first movie in the series and was a legitimately fun watch. “Origin of Evil” is by no means perfect but it did a lot of positive things.

I saw the first Ouija movie a couple years back and was thoroughly unimpressed. It took nearly every horror cliché and blended it into an unexciting box office success. Thus, it got a sequel and took its chance to improve.

For starters, a huge positive was the direction. Mike Flanagan is behind the camera for this one and does a serviceable job. The camera work is essential to building suspense as the film progresses and mid-20th century Los Angeles was depicted well.

Flanagan’s casting in this film was also a plus.

Usually horror flicks don’t have many well-known stars, but there were no glaring mis-castings or poor actors. Elizabeth Reaser and Annalise Basso stood out. Their writing and character development only had a couple blunders.

The plot is what keeps this movie interesting. Reaser’s character plays the mother who runs a business out of her home giving her clients false hope that they are speaking to their lost loved ones through a spiritual connection.

She later decides to get a Ouija board to expand her business, and the younger of her two daughters becomes fascinated with channeling the spirit of her late father.

The story progressively builds and the scares were impressive. The sequel moved away from the jump scare cliché some and it was effective.

The running time wasn’t too long, yet Flanagan took time to develop his characters in a way that made the final act especially suspenseful. The use of the Ouija board was believable while overblown in the first film.

I was surprised by the mere $9 million budget for this film. The neighborhood they shot in was beautiful vintage Southern California and the cars were pristine.

Typically the budget is low for horror films, but Flanagan did a phenomenal job using his resources to produce a good-looking film.

“Ouija: Origin of Evil” has several flaws, but nothing too detrimental. The first flaw is in some of the writing in the first act.

Some of the lesser characters had some choppy lines, however this improved vastly as the plot progressed as their roles diminished.

The main flaw falls occurred in the ending of this movie. Nothing will be spoiled of course, but it seemed as though the build up was so good until a point where the movie ended and it could have done so much more in another five or 10 minutes.

Aside from these two things, “Origin of Evil” is a fun horror watch. I entered the theater with little expectation this one and came out glad I had seen it. It received the best release slot of any horror film this year (10 days before Halloween) and has already more than doubled its budget. It fulfills its role of this year’s Halloween horror flick and is worth a trip to the theater.

Final grade: B