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15Ouija: Origin of Evil

Elizabeth Reaser and Henry Thomas in Ouija Origin of Evil

It would be so, so easy to completely dismiss Ouija: Origin of Evil. It's based on a board game, for crying out loud. It's also a prequel to a 2014 horror movie that bombed with critics and audiences alike. Everything about it reeks of stupidity. Set in 1967,

the movie is about a widow (Elizabeth Reaser) who runs a seance scam business with her two daughters. They buy a Ouija board to use as a prop, subsequently opening a portal for a demonic spirit to possess the younger of the two girls. Dumb, right?

Not so fast! Ouija: Origin of Evil is actually a surprisingly potent examination of grief. Reaser's character uses the board to try to contact her late husband, and the girls hope to communicate with him from beyond the grave, as well. When they end up reaching something else altogether -- and something with deeply malevolent intentions -- each of them must deal with the disappointment. There are scares in Origin of Evil, but many more scenes of the characters struggling to find a way to cope with their loss. By helping others achieve closure through the fake seance business, they are, in effect, seeking closure for themselves. Addressing grief in the form of a mainstream horror movie is nothing less than inspired.

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