Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

There's an early scene in Ouija: Origin of Evil, where things in the family have started going wrong, but nobody really knows it yet. The younger sister has already become influenced by the Ouija board's powers and the dark forces in their home. 

Her older sister's boyfriend is sneaking out of the house and passes by the living room, where the younger girl is supposed to be watching TV, but the couch is empty. He turns around, is startled to find her standing behind him, an innocent smile on her face.

"Want to hear something cool?" she asks, and he nods uncertainly. So she tells him something cool. She tells him what it feels like to be strangled to death. She is calm, even cheerful as she talks. Describing the hot and cold sensations. The stars you see. The rising panic. The ache behind your eyes. The boyfriend listens, dumbfounded, while she talks. She is detailed and thorough, mixing mundane details with the horrific, like a child who just watched a documentary and remembers every little thing.  

Afterward, he has no idea what to say. They just stand there in the hallway.

Then she gives him a little wink and says, "Goodnight, Romeo," and goes back to watching TV.

I did not expect to enjoy this movie, but watching it was one pleasant surprise after another. This is a genuinely creepy and smart film. The script is sharp and doesn't rely on jump scares, trusting itself in a way that is surprising and charmingly self-confident. The three main characters feel like they care about one another. Their choices make emotional sense as well as logical sense, and there is no feeling of exploitation or cruelty here at all. 

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) is a licensed film adaptation of a board game (Hasbro's Ouija board product). It is also a prequel to the truly stupid 2014 horror movie Ouija. And, in addition to all that, it is wonderful. Everything about it is wonderful.