When Hush and Oculus writer/director Mike Flanagan signed on to direct the prequel to the critically panned (albeit financially successful) 2014 horror film Ouija, it seemed pretty clear that Blumhouse was trying to correct for the mistakes of the first movie by hiring a real-deal auteur at the helm. Blumhouse executive Josh Raffel was forthright on that point when I spoke with he and founder Jason Blum back in July, saying bluntly: “We know how everyone feels about the first one and that it wasn't the finest hour. So that's why [we] wanted to make sure to get it right.”
Clearly, Blumhouse is thinking long-term with this franchise, and their strategy to improve on the previous film could well pay financial dividends if Origin of Evil delivers on its early promise. The company could easily have made money on a slapdash followup to the original, but by choosing Flanagan (who played an unspecified role in the making of the first film) to co-write and direct the prequel, they've taken steps to garner audience goodwill in order to improve the series' long-term chances of survival. As Blum put it back in July: “I think there are a lot of different directions we could go with it. Hopefully, we'll get to continue making them.”
I was encouraged by the first Origin of Evil trailer when it dropped back in June, and I'm even more encouraged by the second one released today, which, while predictably giving away too many of the film's scares, promises a strong directorial eye, some truly scary visuals and a nifty performance by child actress Lulu Wilson, who delivers the climactic line “Good night, Romeo” with sinister aplomb. Also, her description of how it feels to be strangled to death? That actually got to me.
Watch the trailer above. Ouija: Origin of Evil hits theaters on October 21.