A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ouija: Origin of Evil is better than 2014's Ouija (both movies are based on Hasbro's Ouija board game). There are plenty of scares and creepy scenes, but they're mostly bloodless. While possessed by a monster, a 9-year-old girl does terrible things and is herself in peril. Characters die; viewers will see a hanged body, a bloody knife, monsters, and scary stuff, as well as off screen violence and other acts that are described. Language is pretty infrequent but does include a few uses of "bitch," "hell," "crap," and "oh my God." Teens drink at a party, adults drink in a social dinner setting, and there's talk about excessive drinking among adults, including a man killed in a drunk-driving accident. Sexual content is limited to flirting and a tender kiss between teens. Overall, the movie is scary, with some weird/darkly funny moments, but it has bleak themes and ends on a downbeat note.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
OUJIA: ORIGIN OF EVIL takes place in 1967. Widowed Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two daughters, teen Paulina (Annalise Basso) and 9-year-old Doris (Lulu Wilson), are trying to make ends meet via a bogus fortune-telling set-up. But bills are piling up, and the bank is looking to foreclose on the house. So Alice buys a Ouija board to spice up her business. No sooner does she start playing with it than Doris begins channeling spirits from beyond. At first Doris helps with readings, but soon, the spirits seem to have more horrific things in mind. Father Tom (Henry Thomas) helps provide a clue to what's really going on, but it may be too late.
Is it any good?
Ouija (2014) was terrible, but this prequel takes off in an entirely new direction with its mesmerizingly weird compositions and rhythms and wicked humor. Director/co-writer Mike Flanagan (of the excellent Oculus and Hush), who had nothing to do with the original, brings some dark new ideas to the table. (Both the sequel and the original are officially based on the Hasbro board game.) Quite often, Flanagan arranges the actors and the space in deliberately awkward or off-kilter formations, underlining the movie's creepy concept of the family unit -- which includes dead people.
He replaces dumb jump-scares with moments that are deeply unsettling -- or else unexpectedly, morbidly funny. Ouija: Origin of Evil does rely on a few too many digitally created white eyes and stretched-open mouths. That, plus the troubling idea of a 9-year-old girl being possessed, in addition to the downbeat, death-heavy ending, makes the movie recommendable only to hardened horror fans. But if you're one of them, stick around for a connecting post-credits scene!
Talk to your kids about ...
Is the movie scary? Why or why not? What's the appeal of scary movies? Why is it sometimes fun to be scared?
Did having a 9-year-old possessed and seemingly in danger affect how much you enjoyed the movie? How does the movie's ending contribute to your answer?
Does the movie make you want to try a Ouija Board, or does it make you want to stay away from them? Why do you think Hasbro decided to let its product be used so prominently in a movie?
How often does the movie show or reference drinking? What seems to be the result of drinking in this story?
- In theaters: October 21, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: January 17, 2017
- Cast: Elizabeth Reaser, Henry Thomas, Annalise Basso
- Director: Mike Flanagan
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: disturbing images, terror and thematic elements
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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