Starring: Annalise Basso, Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas
Director: Mike Flanagan
Ouija, the original film in what looks like will be a series, was an alright horror film. Sure, it had plot holes so big you could hide a body in, and acting that was at times laughable, but I really didn’t care. It had those moments that make horror films fun: the stock teen characters, the effects, the jump scares, the secrets in the basement that should never have been uncovered.
But this film is actually not what I expected. In a really good way.
The film is a prequel, so I guess a SPOILER alert for the first film is in order. Essentially, the ending of the first movie is the plot of this one, in which we find out that two psychic sisters and their mother used the Oiuja board in the house, that there were murders, and now it’s haunted… But unlike a lot of prequels, this one doesn’t suffer from lacking surprise.
In this film, set in the 60’s in the house from the original film, a struggling mother makes ends meet by holding faked seances, with the help of her two daughters, one a rebellious teen, the other a nine year old who struggles to fit in. But when a Ouija board is brought into the house as a prop, things start to get spooky, especially when the youngest sister starts using the game while breaking the rules: never use the game alone, and always say good bye….
What I liked about this film is that it’s not all jump scares and regurgitated plot. I got the impression in the first film that the mother had used her daughters in the seances in some kind of sinister way, and that the sisters were evil. But what occurs here is three well developed characters, all of whom have hopes and desires, and the film centres around their relationship with each other, and their mourning for the father who is lost to them, as well as their differing opinions about what’s really going on in the house. It actually felt to me like a good story with loads of really horror elements (and it is scary), rather than a cookie cutter horror film. And all the performances are really strong, especially the youngest sister. I was impressed.
Plus there were just enough twists to make you feel that the film plot is original, with the twist in the tail about what really happened in the basement…
See It If: you’re looking for a spooky horror, you could do a lot worse than go past this one. It’s chilling and fun. It’s out now in cinemas.