Initially, I was never planning on watching Ouija: Origin of Evil, given the fact that the first film disappointed me greatly. I wanted the movie to go a specific direction, and that first film was a real doozie, going beyond the necessary. Most critics agreed as well, so no one really wanted to see this film either – but when they did, it received some pretty good reviews based on the route the director chose to take. So here I am again, hoping to see some real originality brought to this series. Let’s get into it.
In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by a merciless spirit, the family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side. (IMDb)
So why do people sometimes praise this film? Well, from the get-go, the movie is handled better. It’s not as cheaply-produced as the first film was, so those inferior jump scares don’t actually exist here, instead, they try to come up with something a bit more natural and accepted. Apart from that, they also attempted to bring back a classic old-syle feel. They have reel replacement circles on the top right side, as well as scene jumps, as well as an older styled intro Universal logo and title card. All of these point to the simple idea that it was taken a little more seriously and ultimately makes us excited to watch the rest.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, I think that’s where the praises end. It’s better on a technical level; or produced level, that is. The actual concept and plot remain similarly weak. To refresh your memory, what I wanted with this story was something believable. People have been playing this board game for a very long time – and with it, people have had some unexplained experiences. Experiences that can be either supernatural or paranoia-driven. I love films that offer two possible explanations – that doubles the possible audience satisfaction rate…but what we have here is mostly more of the same.
You can probably describe this film as a haunted house tale and the Ouija board just helped matters progress, though. While the first film held onto the idea of the board game creating problems, this one gave us an idea that the problems already existed to begin with. The ouija board just facilitated the pre-existing problems getting worse. That much I understand and respect, but as the film continues, the movie just gets wrapped up inside a ball of convolution and disrepair.
So yes, I liked how Ouija: Origin of Evil began quite a bit, but sometimes creating a strong foundation isn’t enough to keep this film standing. If you come back at that foundation with explosives, it might fall back down, and I think by the end of this film…that’s exactly the kind of destruction that occurs. Check it out!