- Ouija: Origin of Evil
- Written by
- Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard
- Directed by
- Mike Flanagan
- Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Henry Thomas
Ouija: Origin of Evil is the stylish prequel to 2014's silly-scary Ouija, which means that in the past two years there have been 200-per-cent-more Ouija board movies than Magic 8-Ball ones.
Set in the Los Angeles of 1967 and attractively shot with a Valley of the Dolls Instagram filter, Origin of Evil stars Elizabeth Reaser as a loving single mother who struggles to make ends meet as the seance-scamming Madame Zander. Everything is basically groovy until she brings home an Ouija board (Parker Brothers' entry into light-occult gaming). Taking to the planchette precociously, younger sister Doris is soon channelling like a champ. She's also creeping big sister Paulina out with her sudden fluency in Polish.
Director Mike Flanagan mostly eschews jump-scares as he deftly delivers a state of unease that incorporates a flirtatious rapport between mom and the young priest/principal of the girls' school. The film's schlocky ending is baffling, and a drop-in Holocaust twist to a house's supernatural secrets is out of place. Still, this is a prequel superior to its predecessor – we're not bored with board-game ghoulishness yet.