Tuesday, 7 February 2017


If the primary objective of horror filmmaking is to evoke feelings, rather than provoke thoughts, it's entirely plausible, and indeed understandable, that so many horror films leave their audience cold. Mike Flanagan has, in the busy second act of his career as a director, devised a pathway past thought and directly into emotional responses of which only an intelligent artist could conceive. He'd be a solid helmer of any genre of film, but if his affinity is for this one, I won't complain. Ouija: Origin of Evil is a compact little scarer, crammed with increasingly accruing detail targeted immediately toward evoking that most essential of feelings in horror: terror! Lighter on incidental suspense and cheap shocks than most of its ilk - though by no means reticent to indulge in the kind of genre thrills we viewers both expect and demand - Origin of Evil instead allows its dread to build insidiously through the gradual unravelling of its narrative's tapestry of historic suffering. The further it goes, the less effective it becomes, but Flanagan composes his crescendo with masterful subtlety at first, thus permitting it to pack a heftier punch upon initial notice. Thoughts remain wholly unprovoked, and Origin of Evil means utterly nothing outside of what potential franchise-building in which it is indisputably engaging, but in the hands of a genuinely intelligent artist, at least it delivers on what we demand. It's unsettling and downright frightening in the right measures, and it achieves its primary objective without question.