By KATHERINE NGUYEN
I’m only six months away from being a legal adult, yet Ouija: Origins of Evil is the first horror movie I’ve seen. And if you couldn’t already guess, it didn’t go too well.
The movie is the prequel to the 2014 movie Ouija, which follows a group of friends going through the curses and traumas of a particular demon identified as “DZ”. The spirit is later shown to be a little girl by the name of Doris Zander, and the prequel, released October 1, 2016, follows the life of said girl before and while she’s possessed.
From the looks of the beginning of the movie, I thought that I could hold myself together. It shows single mother Alice Zander, who makes her living as a fortune teller. Though she’s attempting to do good by giving grieving clients closure, she does it through a scam: her two daughters, high school student Paulina (Lina) and nine-year-old Doris, aid her in special effects that give the illusion of a connection to the spiritual world. They would blow candles with bellows behind secret doors and hide themselves in curtains and scarves to portray the spirits.
However, the tables begin to turn when Alice brings home a Ouija Board in hopes of spicing up her act. Unfortunately, young Doris begins to play with the “game” in an attempt to communicate with her father.
It’s barely 20 minutes into the movie before the Zander family breaks the three distinct rules of Ouija: one – never play alone, two – never play in a graveyard, and three – always say goodbye. And as you would expect, all hell breaks loose. People begin getting possessed left and right, bodies are thrown from the ceiling on nooses, and facial features are distorted beyond belief.
I walked into the movie crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t cry, seeing as it was only rated PG-13, but I think we both know that didn’t happen.
I spent the entire last half of the movie curled up in a ball, eyes glued shut with fear, but I still couldn’t escape the scariness. The audio of the movie, paired with the effects of the theater, echoed into my mind. The movie had such a great emphasis on the dialogue and script that I could comprehend and be absolutely horrified of what was going on without even being able to physically see the screen.
However, the petrifying glimpses that I did catch left me in awe. Similar to most horror movies, Ouija is largely reliant on special effects. The demon figures and deformed faces were achieved through prosthetic makeup, with the former being created from full-length body paint and masks and the latter through silicone masks and appliances that were attached to the actors’ faces and blended into their body suits. Special effects were utilized to create a suspenseful environment with creeping features in the background and whited-out eyes.
The clear stand-out actresses of the film are Lulu Wilson, who played Doris, and Annalise Basso, who took the role of Lina. Wilson, despite her young age, masters the definite transition from innocent child to enraged demon. When she is the sweet, caring daughter, you cannot help but adore her. But when she’s possessed and writing Polish with her head turned the wrong way, you’re either ready to bolt out of the theater or stick your hands into the screen and strangle her.
Basso, the lone survivor in the end of the movie, is able to transform from a sassy, sneaking-out teenager to a worried daughter and sister, and then ultimately to a psychotic mental asylum patient who is capable of doing the unimaginable.
Taking into consideration that it is a thriller, the plot flowed smoothly. The timeline develops in a logical (albeit absolutely terrifying) manner and doesn’t leave questions unanswered.
One of the unfortunate friends I dragged to see the horrifying film with me, Megan Lee (Sr.), said, “I thought I was going to die. It was good; I was entertained, but I still thought I was going to die.”
Ouija: Origins of Evil is considered critically better than its predecessor; it received generally positive reviews with an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Along with that, it is Hasbro Studios and Platinum Dunes’ highest rated film to exist.