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Ouija: Origin Of Evil

Although the first film in the Ouija series was a success commercially, its critical reception was less than stellar. As a result, Jason Blum wanted to make a film that was significantly different from the original.[4] This appealed to director Mike Flanagan who stated in an interview that he has an "allergy to sequels". Blum let Flanagan work on the type of horror film he wanted which was a period piece that dealt with a family dynamic.[4] There was some talk from the beginning about whether or not the film should have any connections at all to the original, but Flanagan himself was opposed to this, and instead opted to make subtle references to the original to welcome new viewers while also entertaining fans of the original.[5]

Ouija: Origin of Evil

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Ouija (2014) was terrible, but this prequel takes off in an entirely new direction with its mesmerizingly weird compositions and rhythms and wicked humor. Director/co-writer Mike Flanagan (of the excellent Oculus and Hush), who had nothing to do with the original, brings some dark new ideas to the table. (Both the sequel and the original are officially based on the Hasbro board game.) Quite often, Flanagan arranges the actors and the space in deliberately awkward or off-kilter formations, underlining the movie's creepy concept of the family unit -- which includes dead people.

Not only does it follow "Ouija," an insipid 2014 horror hit that was roundly criticized for being lazy and dull, this is a prequel, one of the most reviled of cinema subgenres. And last but possibly most worrisome, it's a horror movie based on a children's board game. "Hush" and "Oculus" helmer Mike Flanagan must be a madman to have signed on to this project, but as it turns out, a madman is just what this freaky franchise needed.

Devilishly smart about this genre, Flanagan took an impossible property and made it monstrously satisfying. Taking cues from '70s horror, he allots generous time to developing the Zanders individually and as a family. Which gives us a deep connection to their plight, and a false sense of comfort in their surroundings. So when that pesky planchette comes into play, our sense of security is stripped away with the sharp snap of cozy blankets pitched off a defenseless sleeper in the wee hours of a petrifying night.

For as derivative as its setups may be, Ouija: Origin Of Evil is nasty nightmare fuel that preys on both atmosphere and orchestral spikes, much like any horror movie loaded with jump scares out the wazoo. The only difference here is that Flanagan knows how to navigate treacherous cheapness with certain deft and intensity (bungee hanger/mirror), where the original Ouija jammed two bottom-feeding jumps into one massive turd sundae.

We here at Crossfader have been taking potshots at the impending release of OUIJA 2 for quite some time now. The original OUIJA is easily among the weaker entries in the extensive Blumhouse Productions catalog, perhaps only beating out MOCKINGBIRD, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN, and THE DARKNESS. The film is filled with predictable, watered-down scares, horrific #teen dialogue, and a general atmosphere of a quick, cash-grab filler. While it should have never in a million years been considered for franchise potential, this is Blumhouse after all, which means that nothing is sacred. Well, I would hereby like to take the opportunity to invite Jason Blum to tell me to kiss his spurs, because OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is a genuinely creepy and dramatically sound horror film, one of the strongest PG-13 frightfests since THE CONJURING and its sequel, and in easy competition for the cream of the Blumhouse crop.

The evil spirits come from the victims of a sadistic doctor that performed experiments in that house, and with the remains of his victims still hidden in the house, it is realized that they were playing in a graveyard, which is against the rules.

The film incorporates a plethora of tropes throughout. Waking suddenly from a dream, a secret room hidden behind a basement wall, a crackling phonograph adding to mood, even an evil Nazi. Yet there is never a sense of misuse when playing with these conventions. Even derivative elements fill contextual functions by only employing a cliché instead of exploiting it.

Ouija: Origin of Evil tells a terrifying new tale as the follow-up to 2014's sleeper hit that opened at number one. In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their sance 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.

In 1965 Los Angeles, 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.

I liked how Mike Flanagan still had some respect to the original film (which was terrible) and he really did justice to its origin story. Despite a somewhat lackluster final act, Ouija: Origin of Evil is still an impressive scary treat and it puts Ouija (2014) to shame.

Meanwhile, Doris kills Lina's boyfriend Mikey and she hangs his body. Upon seeing this, Father Tom, Alice, and Lina burn the Ouija board downstairs. When Father Tom discovers skeletal remains in the basement wall, they realize that they have been using the Ouija board in a graveyard all this time. Father Tom finds the secret room where the experiments were conducted, and is possessed by the spirits. He attacks Alice and Lina, but momentarily seizes clarity, only to be killed by Doris. Alice is captured, while Roger's spirit carries an unconscious Lina to her bed. Lina wakes up and recalls an earlier moment where her doll's mouth was stitched by her father's spirit "to shut out the voices", realizing that she must sew Doris' mouth shut to quiet the spirits' voices and stop the evil. During the struggle, she successfully sews Doris' mouth shut and Doris dies, reuniting with her father. After this, Lina is temporarily possessed and stabs Alice. While dying, Alice sees Roger and Doris together, and happily joins them, leaving behind a sobbing Lina.

A widowed psychic unknowingly brings real evil into her house when she adds a new stunt to her séance scam business. When her youngest daughter becomes possessed, she must confront unthinkable skills to send the possession back to the other side.PG-13 99 min 2016

The film: From the carpets of the Hotel Cortez to bedrooms filled with evil spirits, every episode of "Hotel" seems to have a reference to "The Shining." The whole season owes its pacing, premise and plot obstacles to this film.

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