Ouija – Origin of Evil Film Review
In the realm of jump scare horror, America is king. Subtlety, depth, abstraction – none of this nonsense please! Straight up jump scares are the order of the day. Loud noises, faces popping out from nowhere, cameras being lunged at, this is where the horror lies. There’s plenty of this in Ouija – Origin of Evil. If it’s jump scares you’re after, you won’t be disappointed. However, for someone like me who’s after the kind of lasting fear American horror films can’t give you, then don’t expect too much. Except maybe a headache, which was the biggest thing I took away from this film.
Horror is my favourite genre of film, but I usually try and stay away from American attempts. I’d be lying if I said I saw this film for any reason other than it being Halloween and my girlfriend and me wanting a spooky date night. I went in expecting nothing – I didn’t even know it was a prequel to an existing film (Ouija – 2014), such was my lack of knowledge – but I went in with an open mind, and wasn’t disappointed. Well, not too disappointed anyway.
As far as jump scares go, there were plenty. Tonnes, absolutely tonnes in fact. Far too many – it was the constant crash of loud noises that gave me a headache. It seemed like every 2 seconds a shadow was lunging for us, or little Doris’ mouth was stretching far too wide and screaming at us. The thing about this film is there isn’t really a story. There’s an incredibly loose narrative, with no real beginning, middle or end – it’s more a case of lurching from one jump to the next and seeing how much it can scare us. I won’t lie, it terrified me. I’m ridiculously susceptible to jump scares, and this film had me more out my seat than in.
In terms of depth, this film has none. When my girlfriend helpfully pointed out afterwards it was a prequel, and explained the story it led up to, it made a bit of sense. But there should be more than this. Of course a prequel has to lead up to the story it’s coming before, but it should be able to stand up on its own two feet too. This film was like Bambi on ice – not a chance.
As far as the acting goes, I will give huge credit to Lulu Wilson, who plays Doris – she was absolutely superb. I normally hate child actors – even the best are usually wooden, and it’s awkward as all hell watching them try and respond to adult, proper actors. But not Wilson – she’s brilliant. There’s one scene where she’s talking to Mikey (played by Parker Mack), her older sister’s boyfriend, and she’s giving an incredibly vivid description of being choked to death. It’s horrible – but in the best possible way. The monologue is delivered perfectly, and kept me freaked out the entire time. It’s not just this scene though – she consistently stands out throughout the entire film.
As for the rest of the cast, there isn’t much to be said. They play their parts well, you get what you expect from them. Apart from spending the film wondering if the mum, Alice, is played by Penelope Cruz (spoiler alert, she isn’t – it’s actually Elizabeth Reaser), I wasn’t really aware they were there. They didn’t really need to be, not with Lulu Wilson on set, stealing the show.
If I were to give this film as number rating, it’d have to be a 5/10. Smack in the middle of the scale. It’s exactly what you’d expect from an American horror film – there’s a loose plot and there’s a lot of jump scares. Save for the stand out performance of Lulu Wilson, there isn’t much I could say about this film that I couldn’t say about the myriad other American horror films there have been before (and there will be in the future). Go see this film, or don’t, it’s up to you – you won’t lose out on anything either way.