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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Movie Review: Ouija: Origin of Evil and A Bit on Mike Flannagan

Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Annalise Basso
Written By: Mike Flanagan
Directed By: Mike Flanagan
Release Date: October 21, 2016
Rating: B+

My Thoughts:
Who would you be without your family? What do you do when things start to go 
bump in the night, threatening the ones you closest to you? While any sane person 
would rise up to the occasion and save their family if they had the chance to, in both Ouija: Origin of Evil and Oculus, director Mike Flanagan shows us that your own 
flesh and blood just might get you killed.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is set in the 60s; something Flanagan doesn’t let us forget as 
the film begins with the old Universal logo along with the occasional cigarette 
burn cue mark. In the film, we’re introduced to Alice, played by Elizabeth Reaser, 
who is not only a recent widow, but the mother of two young girls named Doris and Paulina. Alice and her daughters run a business that involves tricking people into 
believing they’re speaking to the spirits of their loved ones. All is fine and dandy 
until Alice brings back a Ouija board home to an actual spirit that ends up possessing young Doris. Though there are obvious signs that something is wrong,
 Alice blatantly ignores them and by the time she eventually sees the spirit for 
what it is, it’s too late. In the end, Paulina ends up killing both her mother and 
Doris during her efforts to exorcise the evil spirit.

Oculus concerns an evil entity residing in a mirror. Our main character 
Kaylie (Karen Gillian) is trying to document the mirror’s evil powers before 
destroying it in order to exonerate her brother for the murder of their
 parents. However, as the mirror possessed their father into killing himself
 and their mother, it possesses Kaylie into accidentally killing her fiance along 
with her brother into accidentally killing her.

Typically, family represents strength, love and vitality. However, in both of these 
films, the typical representation of what family stands for is completed rejected
 and it's because of this that both films end in tragedy. The only people left 
alive are subjected to living the rest of their days in mental institutions 
 because of their families. However, if we can't trust our loved ones, who 
can we trust to help us stay alive?

In Hush, a film Flanagan released earlier this year on Netflix, our main character, 
Maddie, is alone and it's the main reason she ends up alive. The only interaction 
we see between Maddie and her family is when she speaks with her sister
 briefly over FaceTime. Interestingly enough, it’s her sister who notices something
 is amiss and Maddie who shrugs off the danger. Both Paulina and Kaylie are 
fighting for their families. Kaylie is trying to exonerate her brother and Paulina
 is trying to exorcise the demon in her sister. Though the fight for their families
 was long and hard it was all in vain as Paulina ends up institutionalized and 
Kaylie winds up dead. Maddie, on the other hand, lives because she had no one
 to fight for, but herself.

So, should you run and hide when danger is lurking or do you stand and fight 
for the ones you love? Does self-preservation come first before family commitment?  Maddie didn’t have to worry about anyone else so she put all of her efforts
 into keeping herself alive and it proved fruitful as she lives at the end of the film.
 And after seeing how Paulina and Kaylie wind up after they put their families 
first, it goes to show a little selfishness can go a long way.

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