starring Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas
written by Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard
directed by Mike Flanagan
by Walter Chaw Because distribution is the ridiculous trash fire it is sometimes, Mike Flanagan, through circumstance, misadventure, and good old-fashioned industriousness, had three films ready for release in 2016: Hush, Before I Wake, and Ouija: Origin of Evil (hereafter Ouija 2). I've only seen Hush and Ouija 2 thus far--it looks like Before I Wake has been delayed yet again--but I can say that when taken with his first two films, the moody Absentia and the excellent Oculus, Flanagan is already at the forefront of the new American horror revolution. His movies are drum-tight. He isn't afraid of the high-concept. He makes smart use of minimal exposition and narrative ellipsis, and he embraces the inexplicable and the uncanny. Better, there is at work in Flanagan's pictures this undercurrent of grief, tied together with the thought that perhaps these intimations of immortality are bound snug with the dementing tortures of unimaginable loss. The supernatural is mainly considered, after all, upon the death of loved ones, and so it is that Ouija 2's Alice (Elizabeth Reaser) makes a living with her two young daughters, Lina (Annalise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson), as a fake spirit medium giving succour to the recently bereaved.