Ouija: Origin of Evil – USA, 2016

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‘When you talk to the other side, you never know who will be listening.’

Ouija: Origin of Evil is a 2016 supernatural horror film directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s GameHushAbstentiaBefore I Wake; Oculus) from a screenplay co-written with Jeff Howard (also announced as the co-scripter of the 2016 remake of I Know What You Did Last Summer).

Main cast:

Elizabeth Reaser, Parker Mack, Annalise Basso (Oculus; Ghost ImageDark House; TV series Bones) Sam Anderson, Kate Siegel (Gerald’s GameHush), Henry Thomas, Lulu Wilson, Doug Jones, Bob Gebert, Michael Weaver, Ele Keats, Chelsea Gonzalez, Chad Heffelfinger.

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Although it received largely negative reviews, Ouija went on to earn $102.5 million worldwide at the box office against a budget of $5 million.

For the sequel, a host of producers jumped on board: Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form are representing Platinum Dunes (The UnbornThe Purge 3; Friday the 13th 2016 reboot) while Jason Blum will produce for Blumhouse Productions (they also produced Flanagan’s horror hit Oculus).

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Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

Meanwhile, ouija board manufacturers Hasbro are represented by producers Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis, whilst Flanagan’s frequent collaborator, Trevor Macy, is on board for Intrepid Pictures. Sara Scott, Universal’s director of development, is also along for the ride.

Reviews:

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-20-08-09“It’s still no scarier than any branded content, and perhaps only the most lukewarm slumber party would truly need it. Yet if you were to ask whether Origin of Evil offers a better quality of timewasting than its predecessor, my finger would hover inexorably over YES.” Mike McCahill, The Guardian

Ouija is genuinely frightening and smart, the rare horror prequel able to stand on its own merits and deliver a full-bodied story that succeeds without any previous knowledge or trappings. However, in outfitting this particular haunted house with monsters to spare, Flanagan loses the thread of what’s really scary: Everything we can’t see.” Kate Erbland, IndieWire

Origin of Evil doesn’t stretch the conventions of teen-appeal spookiness too far, but is solidly put together, mounted with a pleasant conviction and runs to several fine performances and some decent scares.” Kim Newman, Screen Daily

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Buy: Amazon.co.uk

“The film works because it is atmospheric as can be, and shows real heart in the family dynamic of the leads. Even some decidedly iffy CG in a couple of scenes (plus a couple of moments that unintentionally conjure memories of the LG phone ‘found footage’ ad from last year) can’t derail this from delivering some well-executed frights and a solid 99 minutes of entertainment.” Steven Hickey, UK Horror Scene

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” …concerned just as much with the people at its center as it is with scaring the daylights out of us. Flanagan’s got plenty of passion projects in his past, but who out there figured the sequel to a movie based on a Ouija board would be one of his best?” Randall Colburn, Consequence of Sound

“Ms. Wilson has “otherworldly” down perfectly, and Mr. Flanagan springs some effective scares, though eventually the proceedings turn a little silly. The connections to the earlier film are barely discernible; really, this is a free-standing story … but this one works pretty well…” Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

“The movie has been getting some good reviews and it’s easy to see why—to the casual horror fan, this is a serviceable haunter that has some fun jump scares and a few legitimately creepy scenes (mostly in the beginning), but outside of that it doesn’t really offer anything new and its monster, the possessed little girl, is about as bland as it gets.” Ryan, The Missing Reel

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“A hauntingly old-fashioned atmosphere infuses Ouija: Origin of Evil, a superior prequel to the 2014 horror film which used the parlor board game as its inspiration. Set nearly 50 years earlier, with its visual style evocatively rendering its period setting, the film delivers a satisfying quotient of scares before lapsing into genre clichés in its final act.” Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

“Relatively little blood is shed, though Origin of Evil offers up enough unsettling imagery and suspenseful situations to push the boundaries of the PG-13 rating and deliver a steady stream of scares to nearly distract from the story’s disappointing arc. After an hour or so spent establishing characters worth caring about, the narrative starts to devolve, and the more the film circles back to the mythology of Ouija, the sillier it gets.” Geoff Berkshire, Variety

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“The leap in quality from the so-so first film to this one is impressive and it’s got a dark streak that beats anything in the Insidious or Conjuring films. Sure, it’s still a studio-backed crowd-pleaser and will probably play better to a teenage audience than a grizzled old horror one and yet still; this particular grizzled old horror fan enjoyed the game thoroughly…” Craig Lines, Den of Geek!

” …the numerous gruesome horrors are rendered in enjoyable fashion. It also helps that all the actors give good performances, especially Wilson, who has the hardest role to play. Plus, some clever thought was put into tying this film to its predecessor, from the familiar house, to the graphic use of medical stitches, to the way Flanagan shoots Lina’s last appearance onscreen.” Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com

“Under Flanagan’s impressive direction, I felt completely alone in the milieu he had constructed. To be both aesthetically and narratively enthralled in the proceedings is a rare feat, especially for a genre replete with vacuous, cheap fare. But there’s nothing second-rate or lackluster about Oujia: Origin of Evil. It reckons with the afterlife and the spirit world with uncommon intellectual curiosity.” Sam Fragoso, The Wrap

“The uneven script, which Flanagan co-wrote with partner Jeff Howard, features plenty of crisp dialogue and wit even as the characters all fall prey to stock horror movie stupidity … frustrating for a movie with so many things working in its favor but, stacked the previous Ouija, Origin of Evil is still a huge step forward.” Adam Dileo, IGN

” …it is an improvement on the 2014 Ouija movie. It’s predictable, a tad stale and leans heavily on familiar scare tactics, but Flanagan does manage to infuse enough authorial flare to keep you visually stimulated. He gives the film way more style than its predecessor, and the three leads successfully get you to connect with their characters.” Perri Nemiroff, Collider

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Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

Release:

The film was released pre-Halloween on October 21, 2016. It took $81,493,382  at the box office worldwide on a budget of $9 million.

Trivia:

The movie was initially announced as Ouija 2.

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Twitter | Official website

Related:

Biggest earning horror films

The Ouija Board – article

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