Main cast: Olivia Cooke (Laine Morris), Ana Coto (Sarah Morris), Daren Kagasoff (Trevor), Douglas Smith (Pete), Bianca A Santos (Isabelle), and Shelley Hennig (Debbie)
Director: Stiles White
Laine Morris is shocked by the apparent suicide of her friend Debbie. The night before Debbie died, she met Debbie at the girl’s house and tried to convince her to get out of the house. Debbie had become quite the hermit up until then, not leaving the house, and Laine was worried. Now, she wonders whether she should have tried harder to get Debbie to open up about her problems. When she discovers an Ouija board among Debbie’s possessions, Laine decides to contact her to say goodbye. She brings along her boyfriend Trevor and Debbie’s boyfriend Peter as well as another friend Isabelle, because the rule states that you cannot use the board on your own. Also tagging along is Laine’s sister, Ana, because Laine can’t trust Ana to stay at home in her absence.
As you can imagine, these people make contact with someone from the other side. Only, this someone – something? – isn’t Debbie. No, he or she is less friendly than Debbie. When her friends start to die one by one, Laine will have to find a way quickly to put an end to their new friend’s antics.
Well, there are probably not many stories one can base around an Ouija board, but still, I’m sure the folks behind Ouija could have thought of something better than this. The plot isn’t the most original, but what makes things more dreary is how the execution also lacks anything that I haven’t seen in horror movies of this sort many times before. Director Stiles White – who also co-wrote the script – has some awkward timing when it comes to the scares. For a long time, the movie teases me with misdirections and not-really-scary “gotcha!” moments, often underscored by loud sounds or spooky music, that the whole thing gets played out pretty quickly. Scenes are built up to be something scary… only to fizzle out when the big “moment” ends up being anything but. For instance, an idiot wanders into a dark tunnel while spooky sounds play to scare me silly, but the grand reveal is “Hi Friend” scrawled on the wall. That’s not much of a pay-off after all that build-up, is that?
The characters are all pretty dumb. They happily walk into darkened tunnels and rooms, especially rooms where the lights are working but they just can’t be bothered to switch the lights on. They split up when it’s better to stay together. And so forth. In this day when horror fans are far more cynical than before, Ouija needs to do something interesting, different with these played out tropes. Instead, it just goes through the motions, throwing clichés at my face, and I can only what I was thinking when I paid money to watch this movie at the theater.
Ouija is a boring and incompetent movie, without any humor, gore, or sex to distract from the flat and uninteresting characters as well as the well-telegraphed efforts at scaring me. Dressing up a kid in a Halloween costume and letting her chase people while threatening to bash them with an Ouija board would be a hundred times more scary than anything in this dreary flick.
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