The original Ouija is the kind of movie that pisses off cinephiles far more than the average moviegoer. It was competently made schlock, a paint by numbers horror film that never took a single chance. If it had faded into obscurity, then none of us would say anything about it. Except Ouija made over $100 million worldwide, meaning there will be sequel after prequel after sequel taking up space in our cinemas. It’s the waste that draws ire, not the awfulness.

So how are we supposed to react to Ouija: Origin of Evil when, after the initial eye-roll, we look at the prequel’s credits and see hope? Rising horror director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush) took the reigns and shares writing credit with frequent partner Jeff Howard. The cast is even an upgrade, replacing the teen show stars of the first with experienced film actors. I’m not saying that the studio spent huge amounts of money to make a better film (the budget increased from $5 to $6 million), but I am saying that there’s clear efforts at improvement.

source: Universal Pictures

Is this enough to earn optimism or does the weight of the previous film hang too heavy? I can’t blame anyone for letting the sting of the first dull their expectations for Origin of Evil, but that might just work in the film’s favor. No one expected anything from a haunted mirror movie, either, and Flanagan turned that into a hit. He might just do the same for this stumbling franchise.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is directed by Mike Flanagan and stars Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, and Lulu Wilson. It will be released in the U.S. and the U.K. on October 21st, 2016. For international release dates, click here.

Do you think the Ouija series will improve in its second outing? Let us know in the comments!

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