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Ouija - Origin of Evil


Stars: Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Parker Mack

Director: Mike Flanagan

This prequel to Ouija, nicely set in 1967 (it even uses the then-current Universal logo at the start), takes a while to get going, but rustles up some tasty scares when it does. Director Mike Flanagan knows how to make our flesh creep, largely by showing a sudden horrifying image that wasn't there a second earlier.

Alice Zander (Reaser) runs, with her daughters, 15-year-old Lina (Basso) and nine-year-old Doris (Wilson), a scam in which, through seances, they pretend to get in touch with dead relatives of their customers, giving them the information they most want to hear.

Their own house, however, is possessed by the spirits of Jewish refugees horrendously tortured in its cellar by their former Nazi captor - the 'demon doctor'. Soon Doris is possessed too, at first operating a ouija board by herself, before letting it (under the control of her unseen 'friends') relay its own messages - but later becoming a medium for the 'voices' that engulf the once-happy home, although why the spirits have a grudge against the Zanders is never quite clear.

Okay, this is a shameless sideshoot of The Exorcist and its ilk and there's even a priest (Thomas) who comes to sort the demons out - to his cost. But, despite its derivative origins, the film is quite cleverly made, well acted (especially by the daughters, with Wilson the perfect demon child with a shivery facial range) and will make you jump on more than one occasion.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
98 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 18 Oct 2016