Mike Flanagan is a filmmaker that has more than established himself among the masters of the modern horror genre. As a co-writer and director, he has demonstrated his ability to grip the hearts of audiences with the hair-raising Oculus, a psychological horrorfest, as well as Hush. Flanagan has seen a fair share of success with the more recent addition to his repertoire, Before I Wake.
Flanagan is no stranger to the art of original filmmaking. When he was asked to create a prequel to 2014’s successful horror film Ouija, the acclaimed director got his first opportunity to try his hand with a franchise film and directed Ouija: Origin of Evil.
This film follows a widowed mother (played by Elizabeth Reaser) and her two young daughters (Lulu Wilson and Annalise Basso). Through the use of the Ouija board game, a malevolent spirit is brought forth and possesses the youngest daughter, leaving the three in a fight for their lives.
Here are 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Ouija: Origin of Evil
1. This film was meant to look as though it was filmed in 1971, according to Director Flanagan. There were several ways this was accomplished, such as: scene fades, antique lenses being used, and camera zooms in lieu of modern Steadicams. In addition, certain editing techniques were used to further the effect, such as slight warping of the audio track, reel jumping, dust on the negative and even a split-diopter (the process where both the foreground image and background image are simultaneously in focus).
2. The opening sequence with the séance was what ultimately convinced Flanagan to make this film. He particularly enjoyed the imagery of a family trying to (through misguided means) ease their own minds about loved ones.
3. As a general practice, Flanagan avoids the overuse of jump scares which were prevalent in horror films of the past. Flanagan states “I think they disrupt the tension that you try to build”. This is even alluded to through the scene with the teenagers using the Ouija board.
4. Flanagan wanted to make sure that he got the opportunity to fully flush out the main characters before the horror would actually come into play. Many horror films aren’t putting much effort to connect you with the characters, so Director Flanagan praised Universal, Blumhouse and Platinum Dunes with giving him the chance to develop the story as he saw fit.
5. The Ouija board box used in the film is the exact packaging that would have been used in the 1960s version of the parlor game.
6. There were several sources of inspiration listed for the production of this film beyond the original 2014 Ouija film. Apart from that film, Flanagan pulled reference and inspiration from movies like: The Changeling, Poltergeist, The Exorcist, Lights Out, Watcher In The Woods and the iconic Jaws.
7. Hasbro is still the maker of the Ouija board, though this brand has become synonymous with any talking board like it. As for the origins of the name “Ouija”, there are two primary theories about how it came about. The first is that it is a combination of both the French and German words for yes (Oui and Ja). The second is a little more chilling in that it is believed that the game itself told the creator what it wished to be called.