Sometimes i fear I missed out by never having grown up with sisters, and the implied closeness brought by being the same gender as someone a similar age in your house. This movie happily proves there are outliers.
The always-eminent Mike Flanagan serves up a sequel to the lesser 2014 dud Ouija. This 1960s-set spookfest is about a newly-widowed mother of two whose younger daughter unknowingly unleashes a mysterious evil by playing with the titular board, a brand new ‘game’ at the time.
Other than some genuinely unsettling visual effects, the central reason for its comparable success to its predecessor is a strong performance from its youngest cast member Lulu Wilson. This tiny human effortlessly weaves between giggly girl, terrified innocent and fearsome antichrist through an array of chilling facial expressions way beyond her years. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she was pulling an Orphan.
The film is a sum of three tales: part haunted house, part period family drama, part possession horror. Key to the successful union of said trio is the ‘normal stuff’ – a compelling, relatable depiction of grief, single motherhood, bullying, and budding adolescence. Since his debut with Absentia, Flanagan’s no stranger to wrapping a good scare with the unease and helplessness of everyday woes, and it’s through this that the film’s heart truly shines.
Another notch in the belt of Hasbro Studios [did anyone see that coming?] though, oddly, it didn’t make me want to play the game itself. I don’t believe in that stuff anyway but, just in case and – unlike the entirety of the cast – I’ll say ‘Goodbye’.