I must have mentioned at some point (most likely in my review of Swiss Army Man) that customers are usually entitled to a refund from a movie if you ask for it no later than 20 minutes into the picture. 15 minutes into Ouija: Origin of Evil I started to rise out of my seat and head to customer service. I should have gotten up, because I stayed until the end figuring that once the commitment was made, there was no sense in walking out. This turned out to be a fallacious argument, because walking out on this movie at any point before the end would have made all the sense in the world. Unfortunately, I had no back up plan. Hindsight giving me 20/20 vision; I would have very happily sat through Deepwater Horizon or Moonlight again.
Written and directed by some dude named Mike Flannagan, Ouija: Origin of Evil is a pretty terrible movie, by most measures. There is very little horror at all in this alleged horror movie. Everything meant to scare the audience is warmed over, recycled trickery that any novice who is a fan of the horror genre and lacks one original idea could have spliced together and come up with. Hold on. That’s a bit harsh. To be fair, there is some good camerawork here and there are one, two, three, four, really good scenes which are somewhat frightening and somewhat original – but the camerawork and those couple of minutes (at most) of originality were not enough to make the remaining hour and 37 minutes of the movie any better. When the movie finally gets to the point where the explanation of the haunting comes, the explanation could not have been any more standard, although it tried so very hard to be original. Giant. Yawn. If you even care any more by that point. From the start, it never felt like a movie with possibilities – 20, 30, 40 minutes in and still nothing – and it didn’t pick up any real energy and steam until the end, at which point, I was so disinterested I sat there smdh for about the last 10 to 15 minutes. Others in the audience were much more vocal about their disappointment. So, at least that was entertaining and funny to me.
I couldn’t help but sit there and think, “I wonder who people like Mike know, because I want to know these people too…” “Who is Mike related to?..” “Who are his godparents?…” “Who is he sleeping with?…” “How do Mike and people like Mike find pigeons to procure money from for their weak projects?…” “Maybe I should write a movie…” “What time is it…?” “Is 5 Guys open yet?…” $6 million is not a lot of money by Hollywood standards. But if you throw away 6 million dollars on 5 bad movies, 10 bad movies, 20 bad movies every year – then that becomes a problem. Who is reading these scripts and who is greenlighting them?!!! These are the people I want to talk with. This thought process that I went through during the movie was the best part of the movie for me.
Seriously, the one and only saving grace for this movie is that the acting is really quite good. With or without special effects, Lulu Wilson is convincing as this odd, creepy, child who channels the spirit world only to be taken over by it. She reminded me very much of a cross between a young Reese Witherspoon and a young Drew Barrymore. She is a talented young actress. She shone through all the bad that was this movie around her.
Ouija: Origin of Evil earned 4 bloops out of 10. To put it plainly, the movie was bland, took forever to “get started,” and was so cliché it was almost heartbreaking. And the ending! In a word – Ridiculous. If the movie would have made me laugh with silliness I would have liked it more. And for the last time, stop going down into the damn basement! I’m recommending Ouija as a good film to watch if you enjoy spending your time talking about how bad a movie is while you’re watching it.