Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
The difference between Ouija: Origin of Evil and the original film is like night and day. Where the successful 2014 Hasbro board game adaptation was pedestrian and eminently forgettable, this prequel, under the reliably solid direction of Mike Flanagan (Oculus), is better crafted in all respects. It displays a revitalised commitment to characterisation that minimises the sense that we’re being fed shameless, watered-down product placement. Stylistically, the film is stacked with unabashed vintage signifiers (old grainy Universal Pics logo, cigarette burn reel changes, etc), but it rarely feels like self-conscious pastiche. Flanagan’s ample character-building legwork and witty, inventively rigged scares, and the cast’s solid performances, raise this one above the average cash-grab. For fans of Bad Seed-type movies, It’s worth a look solely for the exceptional Lulu Wilson, who gives a monologue about strangulation that’s sure to go down as one of the genre’s most spine-chilling moments.