Set in 1965 Los Angeles, “Ouija: Origin of Evil” centers on a widowed mother and her two daughters who add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. The prequel to 2014’s “Ouija” is directed by Mike Flanagan and stars Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson and Annalise Basso. Here’s what the critics are saying.
IndieWire’s Kate Erbland gave the film a B in her review and stated:
“‘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.”
Geoff Berkshire of Variety wrote that the prequel “can’t outrun the ghosts of its past” but it’s a “smarter, scarier spin.”
“The rare horror sequel made with considerably more wit, craft, and imagination than its predecessor, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ feels less like the continuation of a budding franchise than an apology for what went wrong the first time.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Frank Scheck’s bottom line was, “old-fashioned storytelling provides some satisfying scares.”
“The film delivers a satisfying quotient of scares before lapsing into genre clichés in its final act…Both Reaser and Thomas provide unexpected depths to what could have been schematic roles, and the younger performers are even better. Basso vividly conveys her character’s teenage angst, and Wilson is particularly impressive as the possessed little girl who becomes increasingly frightening”
Sam Fragoso of The Wrap called it a “smart and stylish horror film” with “scares that don’t rely on cheap shocks.”
“Equal parts horror masterclass and internal home-invasion thriller, ‘Ouija’ is as chilling and nerve-racking as they come. It’s a sort of cinematic heart attack — irreparably damaging to the body and mind, with a slow recovery time.”
The New York Times’ Neil Genzlinger praised Lulu Wilson’s performance, writing:
“‘Ouija: Origin of Evil,’ is deliciously creepy, thanks largely to a terrific performance by the youngest of its stars…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.”
Not everyone was as impressed like the critics above. The Guardian’s Mike McCahill gave it three stars out of five.
“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.”
Christian Holub of Entertainment Weekly gave it a C and wrote:
“‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ is an interesting exercise in watching filmmakers try to mint a franchise out of basically nothing…Effective horror relies on the actualization of some deep-seated cultural fear, but ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ supplies only ineffective clichés and half-hearted attempts at franchise building.”
The film is now in theaters.