Tag Archives: film review

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


wwposter5The road for DC has been nothing but a bumpy start to their cinematic universe. With both ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ and ‘Suicide Squad‘ getting mixed to negative reviews things have been looking grim for Warner Bros. The tide may be turning however as Gal Gadot takes on the amazon warrior’s mantle in ‘Wonder Woman‘. In what is considered a must win situation for not only the studio but especially weary fans of the DC universe the trick may be the film’s new director in Patty Jenkins.

A strong and determined warrior in Diana Prince, Princess of Themyscira, befriends a German spy in Steve Trevor. After a confrontation that leaves her home in fear of the outside world, Diana flees with Steve to end the Great War in Germany. It is through belief that Diana fights side by side with the human race in believing there is more good then there is evil.

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Getting this out of the way, Warner Bros. has created a winner with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. What’s filled with action and adventure we get a good look at the character that has been the idol of many women around the world through decades past. The negative reaction first hand when Gadot was cast as the Amazon warrior was later silenced in her cameo appearance in ‘Batman v. Superman‘ alongside Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. It continues in this film that not only does she prove the naysayers wrong but doing so with heart and determination.

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One of the things that stood out to me was how great of a job they were able to flesh out her character. Giving us a glimpse into not only her family heritage but also struggling to make understanding of the outside world with her relationship with Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine. While we’re mentioning Chris Pine, it’s safe to say he has great chemistry with Gal Gadot and it was without a doubt a plus for the film. It’s unfortunate of the circumstances towards the end of the movie but with that said Pine was a great choice to play alongside Gadot as they fought Ludendorff to the nail.

If we had to make a comparison I would say the writers did a better job in fleshing out Diana Prince as compared to how the writers for ‘Man of Steel‘ did with Clark Kent. With only being one of highlights it demonstrates a much improved script and in how to tell a cohesive narrative. There were even times where I made a comparison to Marvel’s ‘Captain America: The First Avenger‘ as in how they used a World War setting for their respective properties. Just imagine if we were to get a crossover of both characters and how amazing that could be.

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A well put together effort by Director Patty Jenkins puts this DC movie as one of the best films in the cinematic universe. And it also manages to balance tone and action without falling victim to being dreary and dire as in past attempts. It’s almost night and day from where we were last Summer as many were wondering if DC was in turbulent times. Could this mean we can look forward to a much brighter future for the upcoming DC properties and the eventual ‘Justice League‘ film? Let’s not jump the gun just yet but definitely ‘Wonder Woman‘ is a gigantic step in the right direction.

Rating: 7.8/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan on watching ‘Wonder Woman‘? Comment below and share your thoughts about the movie.

Alien: Covenant (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


IMG_20170323_0950491It was 38 years ago that movie watchers were introduced to ‘Alien‘ back in 1979. Director Ridley Scott would go on to terrify audiences with a gut wrenching, hair raising cat and mouse game when space truckers encounter a deadly beast in deep space. A first of its kind that would spawn rip-offs that pales in comparison to a horror masterpiece. Then 33 years later, Scott would return to the universe that solidified his career with 2012’s ‘Prometheus‘. His return was met with praise and frustration as the movie had high production value but lacked in answering it’s big questions.

This now leads us to the follow-up in ‘Alien: Covenant‘ where Ridley Scott promises to bring back the Xenomorphs and the carnage fans came to love. And he also provides answers to the many lingering pains that were left unanswered in ‘Prometheus‘. After months and months of anticipation the time has finally arrived where fans look forward to a much needed Alien sequel. What one has to wonder is if fans will be satisfied for what has been a tumultuous journey up to this point.

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As a colony ship, the Covenant, advances towards its destination of a new home they are hit by a neutrino burst. The crew awakens from cryo-sleep to then intercept a signal from a nearby planet that closely resembles earth. While investigating this new world they discover what turns out to be a deadly game of survival when death and chaos awaits their arrival. The film stars Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride.

I was in the minority of those who enjoyed ‘Prometheus‘ and praised the direction and production that was put into the project. The idea of the Engineers was clever as it brought about the idea of creators of mankind who then turn on their creation. Michael Fassbender’s David makes a strong presence as the newly created android by the Weyland Corporation as his ability to be curious takes on a life of its own. Going into ‘Alien: Covenant‘ I was looking forward to another strong performance by Michael Fassbender as this time around he plays not only David but the Covenant’s new android Walter.v1.bjsxNTM1OTU4O2o7MTczNDI7MTIwMDs0NjYyOzMxMzk

The way to describe ‘Alien: Covenant‘ is a little frustrating because as much as it tries to be an Alien movie it also tries being a sequel to ‘Prometheus‘. And a lot of it has to do with Ridley Scott trying to appease the fan bases in both camps. Starting with the positives the movie is beautiful to look at. If there’s one thing everyone can agree on is that Ridley Scott knows how to produce and direct. From the external shots of the Covenant ship to the landscapes of the Engineer’s home world they are breathtaking to watch. Even the cast do a decent job while falling one by one to deadly pathogens.

Lead actress Katherine Waterston plays the distressed co-captain alongside Billy Crudup’s Oram. The director’s belief in casting strong females for the role has proven to be true as was the case of Sigourney Weaver. Except she isn’t meant to surpass Weaver’s performance in the franchise rather to demonstrate the tenacity as she fights for her life. Unfortunately, a large chunk of the runtime is dedicated to Michael Fassbender’s David/Walter as he continues to explore the idea of creation. But that’s what saves the film from floundering into familiar gasps and terror. David takes things to the next level and that’s when he truly becomes a terrifying menace.

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Now we come to the difficult part because as much as we’re entertained by Michael Fassbender and the visual prowess of Ridley Scott, the film struggles to balance in tone. When we explore the terrain of an uncharted paradise it’s hard not to forget ‘Prometheus‘ and the scientific expedition that took place as they journey to find humanity’s origins. Then there comes a point when the monsters arrive, a.k.a the back-burster, and the many other creatures that show up in the film. The creatures almost seemed to take the backseat or were merely around to make an appearance. A good chunk of the film glides around the questions of the Engineers and how David survives a hostile environment. There never were smooth transitions between the terror and the grand ideas set by the script. It’s unfortunate because the lack of substance behind the Engineers is something I was hoping to see more of.

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There’s going to be disappointment and that’s because the script tries to please everyone but not in a satisfying way that we’d hope. Great performances by the cast; more specifically Michael Fassbender and even the one and only Danny McBride. There are terrifying moments in the movie and I wouldn’t even say its the aliens themselves. If you were put off by the religious and scientific garble in ‘Prometheus‘ then don’t expect it to go away. In fact, it may be more blatant as the movie does explore the ideas of heaven and hell. If you’re a fan of the aliens then you will also be disappointed because their mysterious beginnings may spoil the lore that fans have enjoyed for many years.

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It may take subsequent viewings to change my perspective on ‘Alien: Covenant‘ as time goes on. But in the way I was thoroughly in awe of ‘Prometheus‘ on its first viewing it may be a tough mountain to climb. This is not an easy review because although I tried not to go in with expectations I still ended up feeling somewhat let down. The last thing I will mention is the sound score by Jed Kurzel. He did a great job by mixing in the sound of Jerry Goldsmith’sAlien‘ with this movie. There was a great use of buildup when things started going awry. It made me feel like we returned to Ridley Scott’s world and bringing back memories of how great the original ‘Alien‘ was. Though the latest entry in the franchise isn’t a deal breaker it certainly reminds us how special a filmmaker is able to explore the unknowns while terrifying its audience in the process.

Rating: 6.5/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Alien: Covenant‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? How would you rank the films in the franchise? And would you rather have gotten a Prometheus sequel or an Alien sequel? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Power Rangers (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


Power_Rangers_(2017_Official_Theatrical_Poster)The fate of planet earth is at stake when the evil Rita Repulsa is resurrected from the ocean depths. When five teenagers of attitude are chosen to save earth, they form to become the power rangers. With superhuman strength and a leader behind Zordon the rangers set to face Rita and battle her closest ally in Goldar. Can the rangers save their city of Angel Grove before its too late? Stay tuned to found out.

A sensation of the 90’s swept the globe as Saban’s Power Rangers took kids and future generations by storm. It was a time like nothing else and would live on with countless variations of the hit series. But nothing could compare to the original power rangers and the influence it had on television. Come 1995 we’d see ‘Power Rangers: The Movie‘ come to life with great success. Twenty-two years have passed and now Saban, with the help of Lionsgate, return to deliver a new and revamped property with a more modern take.

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Gone are the cheesy action and dialog that has not aged well over time. Even in the earliest stages of the 90’s with the mixture of martial arts and cut-in scenes of the original Japanese series plagued creative for some time. It wasn’t until Rita was recast and new footage was filmed that helped take the series to a whole new level. In the coming seasons we’d get a taste of the powerful mastermind Lord Zedd or King Mondo of the Machine Empire. Thereafter would become history with action figures, VHS tapes, cereals, video games, and even a gateway to Saban spin-offs that weren’t as successful but will always be remembered.

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This time around we get a more dark and serious toned movie that takes what made the original series so great with charismatic actors and incorporating an origins story with it. How I’d describe this movie is that it’s more of a redo of the first episode ‘A Day in the Dumpster‘ with different circumstances and origins tale for both Zordon and Rita. And the main villain being Goldar who’s one of her main henchman’s. There’s even a reference to the Zeo crystals that in some cases looks to bring the reboot a culmination of major events from the early years.

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From a technical and production standpoint I thoroughly enjoyed the costume designs of the new rangers and even the location of the Command Center. There was early criticism of the Alpha robot but to me it wasn’t a problem as his personality matched well with his design, even if it’s far different from the original incarnation. There had to be more of an alien feel and look to the suits, Zordon, and Alpha to match the origins of where the rangers came from. Looking back at the series there was a big displacement between the enemies attacking earth and what the suits and everything else seeming more earth like.

If we’re looking at a rebooted franchise with sequels in the works I’d say they’re headed in the right direction. I like the fact that the movie took chances and incorporated current trends and cultural relevancies that brings a breathe of fresh air. RJ Cyler, who plays the blue ranger, breaks from what the original series had with Walter Jones playing the black ranger. A lot of attention was put on it at the time when it was then revealed that it was just a coincidence. But nonetheless RJ Cyler brings a combination of the blue and black ranger from years past and does it phenomenally and was a standout.

There’s even a reveal by the yellow ranger, Trini, played by Becky G., being part of the LBGT community. Some may say Hollywood is going overboard by including more and more LBGT characters into their films to aide a cause but to me it represents a cultural shift, and that is a good thing. The scene in which the reveal occurs is quick, effective and welcoming. Without causing a stir, I say all this because it reflects diversity and a step forward for future generations.

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Some of the disappointments I have with ‘Power Rangers‘ has to do with the handling of Rita (Elizabeth Banks) and the poor effects that were done for Goldar. Starting with Rita, I thought she started strong but then was handled in a clunky manner towards the end. There’s one scene, that for anyone who’s watched the film will agree, that had me scratching my head. And for Goldar they could’ve done a better job in the special effects department. One may argue the original costume looks better in comparison for what we got. For a second I thought they used stock footage from ‘Gods of Egypt‘ and how awful the effects were for that. One last thing to mention, there’s a moment when the iconic power rangers music comes on and feels displaced compared to the tone of the film; seeming to appease the diehard fans. Personally, they didn’t need to do that.

Believe it or not I’m curious to see where Saban and Lionsgate take this property next as they’ve put their best foot forward. It’ll be interesting to see which villains are thrown in next and seeing as how the studio may be taking a different approach from the television series. Could we be seeing Lord Zedd in the sequel? Time will tell and fans young and old should enjoy ‘Power Rangers‘ for its vision and charismatic actors. It’s morphin time!!

Rating: 6.8/10

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What do you guys think? Are you a fan of the ‘Power Rangers‘? Which era are you a fan of and do you look forward to the reboot? Comment below and share your thoughts?

Life (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


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First thing that comes to mind when I first saw a preview for ‘Life‘ was how familiar it was. And it’s coincidental that this movie comes out two month before one of the most eagerly hyped films of the year in ‘Alien: Covenant‘. If you thought going into the movie you were going to see something fresh and unused compared to years past then you are terribly mistaken. But what the movie does have going for it are the involvement of its stars. And believe it or not the acting isn’t all that bad. As a matter of fact, the movie is competent for most of its duration. Yet in the end the movie is just there.

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Getting this out of the way, the movie does give call-backs to Alien and many other franchises; almost to the extent of embarrassment. One of which is shown in the trailer where Ariyon Bakare’s character is seen having hand difficulty when the organism grabs hold. It immediately brought me back to Ridley Scott’sPrometheus‘ (2012) when a biologist gets his arm snapped by an alien worm. And once the organism grows to a certain point it resembles something we’d see in ‘The Faculty‘ where high schoolers fend off against parasites taking hold of there teachers.

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Looking back I regret even seeing the trailer because beat by beat you see major spoilers that lessens the events that transpire. And upsettingly the conclusion is spoiled with a lackluster twist. What I hoped to get from the movie was some form of character development to where we can care about the people we watch. To a point they succeed with one of the astronauts who’s welcoming a baby girl. And another who’s length of time in space is taking a physical toll on his body but emotionally he is not too ready to return to earth because of space’s tranquility. Yet as a whole the script doesn’t succeed in making us care for them when turmoil ensues.

Though the movie started with promise and exposition as to what life-form they’re dealing with, I was hoping they’d go into more detail. The movie just rushes to move ahead rather then venture into what the organism is capable of or what its endgame would be. It’s obvious that it can’t get to earth because doing so would put the fate of mankind at risk. So where’s the suspense? There really isn’t any. From Gyllenhaal to Reynolds to Ferguson, they all were fine with some gripes to be made on some of their decision making. It’s not a terrible movie. It’s not a game-changer. ‘Life‘ is sadly just there.

Rating: 6.5/10

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How do you feel about ‘Life‘? Are you planning on watching it? How does it compare to other sci-fi movies in years past? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Get Out (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


get-out-2017-2In an age of reciprocal storytelling and an audience that clamors for something new there sometimes comes a breakthrough. The writer and directorial debut of Jordan Peele presents a fresh concept with a thrilling take on social commentary. Not only is ‘Get Out‘ a thriller but it also has a mix of comedy and a great ensemble cast. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, and LilRel Howery. As the story goes, Chris is about to meet the parents of his new girlfriend, Rose. What starts as a warm welcome then turns to bizarre events as Chris realizes he may be caught in a sinister plot.

We’ve been fortunate to have seen some great work from new and upcoming directors from these last couple of years. And this is no different as Jordan Peele takes risk in using social commentary of interracial relationships and injecting a bit of horror. After watching ‘Get Out‘ the one thing I appreciated most was how simple the concept was and didn’t overcomplicate itself. Many times movies can bombard itself with plot twists and then lose focus as to what made the movie effective in the first place. Credit also has to be given to the cast because they didn’t over do themselves nor did they fall victim as movies tend to do.

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I’m not going to go into detail as to what happens in the movie because everyone should go in with a fresh set of eyes. All I will say is that there was a great use of suspense that managed to carry all the way through the film. Not once are you looking at your watch and asking yourself if the movie is over. And again, the movie runs with great pace that allows the audience to stay on their toes. Daniel Kaluuya, who plays Chris, on many occasions was paranoid considering he was black and if you put yourself in his shoes you would be just as freaked out. That’s what made the movie unique and many people from all walks of life could connect with his character.

This was a great film and one that took me by surprise. Jordan Peele is on the right track and has a bright future in his film career. Could we see another project down the line that mirrors a similar plot? It’s too early to tell but I hope we get more of these because original features seems too much to ask now-a-days.

Rating: 8/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Get Out‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


resident-evil-the-final-chapter-posterWith a five year delay, and after countless sequels, it looks like Milla Jovovich is hanging her artillery up for good. Paul W. S. Anderson returns to direct ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘ and looks to bring the franchise he started back in 2002 to a close. All the lingering questions everyone’s had about the Umbrella Corporation and if and what can stop the T-virus from whipping the face of humanity into extinction will be revealed. For over 15 years, it’s a franchise that many gave up on as the series dragged on with Jovovich at the helm. Some may argue the sequels gave a clear identity of what it wanted to be, as we’ve seen in other franchises such as in the Fast and Furious series. It all comes to an end and much of the production is more of like a thank you to everyone that stayed the course, for good or indifferent.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) arises to find out that much of humanity has now been deceased. However, with a little help from the Red Queen, she discovers that an anti-serum exists deep within the hive’s location. And with Dr. Isaac (Iain Glen) on the hunt to stop Alice in her tracks, his master plan is in jeopardy. It’s a race to Raccoon city with the true fate of humanity resting in Alice’s hands.

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I was a fan of the Resident Evil video games back in the 90s and it was announced that a film adaptation was in the works everyone was intrigued; especially with Milla Jovovich being attached to the project. Once it hit theaters it was drawn with a mix bag with some liking it and others thinking it was mah. Though not a complete transfer from the storylines we’d seen in the games it had an appealing premise and action sequences to entertain. Thereafter, the series became a thing on its own and eventually giving us that videogame feel with ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife‘ (2010). By this point, the series seemed like a cash grab and became a huge appeal to audiences overseas where much of the revenue came in.

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One thing you could take from the recent and supposedly “final” chapter is that you could tell it was made for the fans; whichever how many are left that is. It went away from a level by level game mode to more of what ‘Apocalypse‘ brought. Story elements were thrown in to tie up the loose ends of the series, including the backstory behind the Umbrella Corporation and why the T-virus was created in the first place. We’d even get a philosophical explanation by Dr. Isaac that really takes the originality of the premise into familiar territory. But what would you expect from the last and final film?  Aside from the beginning and end, everything in between is exactly what fans come to pay and see. And rightfully so.

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The movie promises to come full circle and for the most part we get a conclusion to Alice’s character. But to argue that the movie is the best in the series is a tough argument to make. There were moments when the effects looked cheap and the acting was never top notch either. Some of the plot points had me scratching my head at times when there was talk about the anti-virus. I could’ve sworn the anti-virus was mentioned in the very first movie and thus had me wondering why it was supposed to come as a surprise that one exists. But again, we’re not here for story so it doesn’t even really matter.

With the series coming to a close and Milla Jovovich bowing to her fans for one last time (let’s hope) I sincerely hope it is the end. After a five year break it’s a little surprising Paul W. S. Anderson would even return given the lack of interest in the U.S. market. ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ does have action for everyone as one would expect by now. As a sendoff to a franchise that fans have come to endure it does leave you with some satisfaction. And that’s being nice coming from someone who lost interest after the original.

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Rating: 5.5/10

What do you think of ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘? If you had to rank the films in order from worst to best, how would you rank them? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


ouija_two_xxlg-jpegThe Halloween season is looking quite bare with little scares coming out but all may not be lost as Universal returns to conjure up evil spirits in ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘. When Hasbro and Universal teamed up with their original outing back in 2014 with ‘Ouija’, it turned out to be a terrible bland mess of a movie. Audiences weren’t digging; however, the box-office had something else to say as a $5 million* budget landed them $103 million* globally. With a new director in Mike Flanagan, the studio looks to take the Hasbro property in the right direction and give audiences a truly terrifying experience.

Set in the 1960s, a mother of two girls is in the business of fortune telling and scamming her customers in believing they’re making connections with the deceased. However, when her youngest daughter Doris discovers the Ouija board and begins to make connections with the dead, she unwittingly sets loose a demonic spirit that not only devours her soul but endangers her family as well. The film stars Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, and Lulu Wilson.

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Having seen the original film two years ago it was one of the blandest experiences you can imagine. There was a scrambled story with plot holes that were bigger then the glass of the Ouija piece. Though the production had eerie imagery and nicely shot scenes, it couldn’t bear the weight of its faults. So going forward with Ouija 2 was not something I was looking forward to and when the trailer came out there was already a disposition that wasn’t winning me over. But leading up to its release and favorable reviews by critics I must say that ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ was a vast improvement from its predecessor.

Doing a time piece in the 1960s was a good decision because we got to see an authentic look of how the Ouija board was perceived and giving it a game feel as it was originally marketed as. There also has to be credit given to the production from the lighting to the opening credits and the sequences of terror when Doris comes into contact with spirits that was followed by disturbing imagery. One scene that will be mentioned and was in the trailer was involving Doris and her body folding backwards. When you watch the film and you see exactly what’s happening to her you’ll get goosebumps.

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The acting was a plus, given the fact that the film focused on a mom and her two daughters; whereas in the last outing we didn’t get a sense of connection with the teenagers as they were hunted down one by one while being pretty much disposable. Here we get a reason to care for the characters especially when it involves Alice’s deceased husband and father to their two girls. Elizabeth Reaser plays the mom and was awesome as she tries to make a living while also trying to help people with what she considers a legit way of making a living despite how others would question her as a medium. She’s followed by Lulu Wilson who was genuinely creepy while encountering the spirits that overtakes her body.

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Now having given credit for being a better movie then the original ‘Ouija‘, there are still problems with the movie. For instance, the pacing was all over the place because it starts by taking its time and focuses a lot on Alice and her daughters reminiscing about their long lost father. Then once the possessions take place you’d think the suspense would build and build but instead it takes its time and hardly has moments of real terror. A pastor, played by Henry Thomas, is an example as someone who you’d think would play a bigger part in the movie but the opposite happens and your left shaking your head. Why certain things are happening aren’t fully explained either which was frustrating.

A surprise turnaround with genuinely terrifying imagery and better-then-expected performances, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ dishes out one of the better experiences going back to 1986’s ‘Witchboard‘ which outlasted it’s less then stellar sequels. After ‘Ouija‘ in 2014 it was stated there could be many sequels in the works. With positive word of mouth it can be safe to say another sequel will be rolled out pending the box-office result considering the lambasting of the original.

Rating: 6.3/10

What do you guys think of ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘? Are you planning on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Source: BoxOfficeMojo