When Ouija hit our screens in 2014, it was certainly not a film you’d have expected to see a sequel of and yet it arrived, taken over by a different team and set in the 1960s as a prequel to the original. A widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by the merciless spirit, this small family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side. Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Packer Mack, Halle Charlton and Alexis G. Zall.
The earlier film’s generally low ratings and reputation, before you even begin watching it your expectations are not especially high but that could possibly be an advantage. Origin of Evil begins as it means to go on, jumps and laughs, straight away there’s a feeling to it that embodies the quality of a parody without ever actually straying into the territory. The story begins, the Ouija board arrives and things are set in motion that have serious consequences, it’s not something new, it’s happened in several films before and will probably continue to reappear. The acting is performed about as well as you could expect for a film of this nature, it’s sub-par in comparison to some but suited to the film you’re watching, although Basso and Wilson as Lina and Doris definitely make more of an impact.
Despite that, taking things back to the 60s was actually a clever choice, where the original gave us something that was the usual horror fodder of today’s world, the retro look and simpler time is always a better setting. Direction was also taken over by Oculus’ Mike Flanagan, another good choice because although this doesn’t feel like a horror film you could take too seriously, it’s extremely enjoyable, it embraces the fun and entertaining side of things instead of trying too hard to scare the audience. Some of the scenes where it does try to scare you, you can see coming a mile off but they do still work and again in a sense where it’s about fun and enjoyment rather than trying to make you wet yourself with fear.
The film has a very laid back quality to it, it is fairly predictable and certainly far from unique, it’s moments intended to make you jump or scared work in a minimal way and yet there’s something great about it, an undeniable sense of fun. If you try and watch the film as a serious horror, you most likely will be fed up of it within it’s first couple scenes but if you just sit back, relax and enjoy it, it’s actually a lot better than you’d expect (which is definitely saying something for a 2016 film about Ouija boards and possession). With a lot of unnecessary sequels, prequels and the like, at least this one can give you a laugh and a little bit of fun for 95 minutes.