Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mike Flanagan's "Ouija Origin of Evil" - The Fortune Teller's Horror Tale

Headstrong widow Alice (Elizabeth Reaser) is at wit's end raising her daughters Lina (Annalise Basso) , a high school sophomore, and 9 year-old Doris (Lulu Wilson). Her fortune telling job, which are staged readings, doesn’t suffice to save their house from impending foreclosure. But their fortunes turn when she obtains a Ouija board that communicates with the departed, including husband Roger. These spirits even drag Doris to the basement for a quick fix of their financial woes, i.e. a valuable stash. (Give me these spirits anytime, I say!) However, the board also inadvertently draws malevolent spirits. 

But communing with tenebrous spirits, including one named Marcus and a Polish victim of the Holocaust, takes a toll on sweet Doris who soon displays a peculiar disposition. 

Lina senses unsettling changes happening to her sister, which Alice refuses to acknowledge so Lina summons the help of Father Tom (Henry Thomas) who's only too happy to oblige. After all, he took Alice out for a dinner date at a fancy restaurant where he used to take his wife (before he turned to priesthood). Convenient, right?

Director Mike Flanagan’s "Ouija Origin of Evil" has hair-raising moments involving otherworldly critters that navigate walls and jump from ceilings. A dozen jumpy tricks coupled with thunderous bangs will jolt you from your seats. There are even references to the atrocities of the Nazi regime. Make no mistake, this is your well intentioned horror concoction. But sometimes, these explicitly obvious scare tactics ignore logical narrative flow, thus ultimately off-putting. 

My misgivings involve a few scenes. When a body is dropped on a noose hanging down a ceiling, no one budges. They just look and move elsewhere. When Doris disappears, the same set of characters just stand looking around until Doris'voice is heard shouting for help. Suddenly you suspect a neurotransmitter has been blocked disallowing them to act with a sense of urgency. On the whole, the compelling first half doesn’t deserve the muddled, predictable and gimmicky second.

To stop the voices, Lina has to keep it shut.

Parker Mack plays Lina's 17 year old boyfriend Mike

#ouijaoriginofevil   #horror   #lulu wilson

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