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Running Time:
1 hr. 39 min.

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for disturbing images, terror and thematic elements

Additional Info:
Annalise Basso ... Lina Zander
Elizabeth Reaser ... Alice Zander
Lulu Wilson ... Doris Zander
Henry Thomas ... Father Tom
Parker Mack ... Mikey
Doug Jones ... Ghoul Marcus
Chelsea Gonzalez ... Gloria
Lincoln Melcher ... Jack
Nicholas Keenan ... Walter
Michael Weaver ... Roger Zander
Eve Gordon ... Joan
Chad Heffelfinger ... Male Ghoul
Nina Mansker ... Female Ghoul
John Prosky ... Doctor Fuller
Lin Shaye ... Lina Zander (2013)

Ouija: Origin of Evil
Doris (Lulu Wilson) is a 9-year-old in a 1967 household where a harmless-seeming Ouija board slowly wreaks havoc. Doris’s mother (Elizabeth Reaser), who has been trying to make a living as a fortune teller since her husband died, decides to incorporate a Ouija board into her fake routine, but soon the board starts calling to Doris, and all hell breaks loose.
It begins peaceful and playful enough in the Zander’s living room, Los Angeles, 1967, where it’s business as usual. In their case, the business is a séance scam run by widowed mom Alice (Elizabeth Reaser, “Young Adult”) and her two daughters, Doris (Lulu Wilson) and Paulina (Annalise Basso). Naive (but hopeful) customers have come to speak to deceased relatives, family members whom Alice tells clients she can reach via an otherworldly connection.
That connection is a lie, of course. People believe what they want to believe, and Alice suggests to her children (who help with the showmanship of the performance) that she’s doing a good deed. She’s providing a unique, slightly fabricated service to people in need. A couple of things immediately strike the viewer early on. First, Reaser is magnetic as the single-mother: an engaging mix of forceful, clever, confident and sexy. Second, there’s an artfulness in the presentation here that immediately clues you into Ouija’s many gifts, like the inspired symmetry of the compositions or the note-perfect, period-specific details (the music, fashion, color palette).
Then the story pivots, as the family unwittingly invites a fiendish entity into the house. It’s unclear whether it’s a disembodied spirit or phantom. It doesn’t exactly matter. Whatever it is, it has consumed Doris, the younger of Alice’s two girls. Soon, a family trying to recover from the death of the patriarch has to face something much more threatening: a grade-schooler tormented by a deranged creature — or presence — whose sole mission is to kill.

Ouija: Origin of Evil, directed by Mike Flanagan (Before I Wake") is a self-aware horror film that manages to still have a self. It doesn’t drown in irony, sarcasm or cinematic knowingness; it’s aware of the clichés of contemporary horror: characters splintering off in the face of danger, silence punctuated by grating sounds, a possessed child driven by malevolence. These are obvious trappings, and this thriller upends all of them.


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