In crafting a prequel to a critically derided Michael Bay produced demonic possession movie about an old board game, Flanagan does the impossible & actually creates something of genuine value. Overcoming generic plot elements with a strong emphasis on character, classical formalist tendencies reminiscent of peak-period Shyamalan & a keen intuition for the cinematic set-piece, Origin has the makings of a cult classic.
Mike Flanagan may be horror's most humanist filmmaker, his films always more concerned with their characters rather than their supernatural menace, always more melancholy than terrifying. "Ouija" unfolds with an Amblin sense of wonder, only for the veil of reality to deteriorate and reveal the spiritual battle below. And yet for all its demonic possession, this is a film about the ways a family can hurt itself.
Has greater things on its mind than scares by examining grief and loss and its effect on the family unit. Like The Babadook, it creates an emotional center based in character nuance, and puts emphasis on character drama and theme, and less on measured pacing. Yet, unlike that film, it wisely doesn't regurgitate the same details over-and-over as much. Does have a generic setup and some bland situations, though.
I really think this film delivers it. It goes beyond the murder-house-genre method and pays off by the end, with a bold finale. Doris is a tricky horror character and she manages to step up from the latest possession films I've watched. This time, Flanagan brought a good game: it has the atmosphere, the mood, the aesthetics and pretty nice sequences. Thumbs up!
It is quite surprising, you know. The first Ouija is a mess, dull, and forgettable horror movie. And then came the prequel. It turned out to be good. Origin of Evil tells a story about what happened before the first movie. Mike Flanagan did a great job. He adds more drama in it so the audiences can have sympathy to its characters. Love how he made the "ghost" more menacing and more evil. It made the movie scarier...
The initial setting - mainly the scam and the family's dynamic - is rather interesting. However, as soon as the superantural events start to occur, the story begins to rapidly deteriorate, seeming rushed and being unpleasent and generic in its frenzy need to explain itself.