So, what happens?
Ouija: Origin of Evil opens by introducing us to Alice Zander (The Good Wife''s Elizabeth Reaser), a mother who uses her two daughters Lina (Annalise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson) as part of her home psychic business, which provides comfort to grieving parents, widows, and other lonely people looking for a connection to the afterlife. But when Lina suggests her mother use a Ouija board in her act, they quickly discover that the younger sibling Doris possesses genuine psychic abilities. Unlike her charlatan mother, she's got the gift.
As you can guess, things spin out of control. But even as the tension gets carefully increased, Flanagan keeps a steady hand as he playfully riffs on demonic possession, haunted house, and ghost story classics like The Exorcist, The Omen, Poltergeist, and The Changeling. Like any strong cover band, Ouija: Origin of Evil knows how to draw from a range of influences that appeal to casual horror junkies and die-hards alike -- right down to the nail-biting finale.
What makes the ending so bleak? Well, after a series of dramatic confrontations (and, yes, very loud jump-scares) with a local priest, following Doris' full conversion into Damien-esque demon child, Lina finally defeats her possessed younger sister. How does she do it, exactly? By sewing her mouth closed -- a callback to the first film -- and sending those pesky demons back to hell. In an ingenious choice that probably saved his PG-13 rating, Flanagan keeps his camera focused on Lina's anguished face as she threads the needle. The terror of sewing is real.