Guest post by Christina 'DZA' Marie from Dragons, Zombies, and Aliens.
It is a rare prequel/sequel that is so much better than the original.
I saw the first Ouija a little while ago and could barely recall any of the details. I could barely remember the villains’ backstories and only vaguely remembered the house as the primary setting. It didn’t leave a lasting impression, obviously. I was entertained, but very glad I had watched it at home instead of paying $8 to see it.
Ouija: Origin of Evil is the backstory behind the villain of Ouija, so we’re well aware of the fact that nobody is going to get a happy ending here. (One of the reasons I don’t like prequels is because I know exactly how it’s going to end before stepping foot in the theater). So I was prepared for a downer with plenty of jump-scares in place of actual plot.
What I was not prepared for was the stellar acting of everyone involved, especially the kids (Annalise Basso also played the younger version of Kaylie in Oculus). I was not prepared for the neat side-stepping of the overused romantic subplot between the mom and the priest, both of whom decided that they could work as a couple “in another life.” I was not prepared for the fact that everyone in this movie was actually smart and avoided the plentiful horror movie mistakes that give the horror genre a bad name. I actually wrote a survival guide about ghost stories and was very pleased to see that most of the characters followed it (with the exception of getting rid of the children; kind of hard to do that when they live in the house).
The character Dorris was especially spot-on. The first half of the movie is her just being a kid. Even when it’s clear that she’s channelling something supernatural, she’s still a giddy little girl. There’s one scene where she channels a man’s spirit, who looks at his widowed wife who asks “Is he proud of me” and says “Always” in his own voice through Dorris’s body, and she giggles out a “That tickles!” Of course, her neck starts hurting, and she goes to the board that night with my favorite line: “As friends we gather blah blah blah why does my neck hurt?” That’s the last time she has any sort of innocence. She’s possessed by evil spirits and proceeds to scare the shit out of everyone involved.
Dorris was amazing. The priest was a stud. The other characters were smart and believable. There was a distinct lack of plot holes. And it was touching and heartbreaking. When the family realizes that the board is for real and they can do what they’ve been pretending to do (talk to spirits), they genuinely try to help people by connecting them to their loved ones. They just have the rotten luck of playing in a house that’s in fact a graveyard. (Not to mention not saying “goodbye” the first couple of times they use the board because they think it’s not real, and Dorris playing alone.)
Overall I was very pleased with Ouija: Origin of Evil. I was less pleased when I had a difficult time trying to go to sleep that night, but that’s only a further indication of a good horror movie.