This time of year is the best. It makes me a little sad I won't be able to see the leaves change, but I'm loving the weather down here right now. Plus, where I live there are a lot of Halloween decorations and more Spirit Halloweens and Halloween Cities than you shake a stick at. But mainly, I love the movies. Like today's...
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
The 350th review
It's a prequel to a movie that I reviewed... at some point. It was pretty forgettable and after reading the Wiki page, I still don't really remember it. Thankfully you don't need to recall much because this is a prequel set about 50 years before. When people see horror sequel they usually think of a lesser quality film, one that takes what the first one did and just does more of it. Then we get the very rare case where the sequel is better than the original. One thing I don't think I've ever found in movies across any genre is a sequel being better than the original in every conceivable way. In the 1960's a "medium," Alice, and her two daughters, Doris and Lina, are facing some financial issues following the death of the husband and father. I put "medium" in quotes because it's all smoke and mirrors. While she's running a scam, she's not meddling in people's affairs. Alice just tries to provide them a bit of closure by telling people overcome with grief that the departed misses them/forgives them/is proud of them. It's when a Ouija Board gets introduced that things go sideways. While her mother is a fraud, Doris is an actual vessel and something evil grabs hold of her. It's a pretty basic plot but holy crap is it scary. One thing I really appreciated is that there aren't really any jump scares. A lot of the scariest parts are staring at you in the face. It starts off a bit slow but when it gets going, it doesn't stop. The child actress who plays Doris is outstanding. There's a scene where she casually explains to her sister's boyfriend what a person feels, in horrible detail, when they're strangled. Her sweet voice is absolutely chilling. Then the scenes involving the boyfriend later in the movie made my jaw drop. There are so many terrifying scenes that this review would just be a play-by-play of the final act because it is chock full of terrifying moments. The dialogue too gets its time to shine! One of my favorite lines involves the school principal who is also a priest. He figures out that Doris isn't actually Doris and she's not communicating with the spirits she says she is. As an aside, that led to another scene where my jaw dropped and my eyes went wide. Anyways, he goes down into the basement and follows Doris' voice after they burn the Ouija Board. While in another room he sees Doris looking horrifying. He then starts saying the Lord's Prayer when he's interrupted by the things inhabiting Doris. They cut him off saying, "He can't see us, Father. If he could, none of us would still be here." The line by itself is really good, but when you combine the history of the house and the things possessing Doris, it gave me chills. I can't say enough about how scary some of these scenes are. It was made by Mike Flanagan and he's quickly becoming one of my favorite directors. On top of his skills as a director, I enjoy seeing the same actors and actresses pop up in his movies and TV shows. I think Flanagan is so impressive that he takes stories that have been done to death and he finds new ways to make them fresh. Plus he really seems to know how to set up and deliver a scare for maximum effectiveness. Another thing nice about this movie is you don't need to know anything about the first one. There are only small nods to the original, which is good because the first one was kind of blah. There is one scene during the end credits that ties the two together but it's not necessary and there's a reason it's buried at the end. So far this month, this has been the only movie to scare me and it did it a bunch of times. The characters were likeable, the atmosphere was great, the scares were awesome and I highly suggest it!