I saw this movie a few weeks late and recently in my “Jessabelle” I noted that this year hasn’t been a strong for wide release horror films. However the idea to make a film based around a Ouija board is compelling. Everyone knows of the legends and the stories of Ouija boards; and has been used as a plot device in countless amount of films. So, it makes sense to make a film called “Ouija” , and to be completely honest, I’m shocked it hasn’t really been done before. From a business point alone it’s a great piece of marketing (which might explain why it has made a lot of money already). This all be said, “Ouija” does not change the recent trend of horror films this year. “Ouija” is an 89 minute brainless exercise that serves much more as teen angst rather than horror. “Ouija” is too reliant on boring jump scares and bad writing with no buildup.
After the apparent suicide of their friend, a group of teenagers want to find to try to find a way to communicate with her. One of the young women remembers back to her younger years playing with a Ouija board and takes it to her friends where they encounter not her deceased friend but an evil dark spirit.
I struggle with even calling this a horror film. A great portion of this film is just bunch of teenagers moping around about their dead friend. The subject matter of suicide is an important subject matter, especially for teenagers but the way it’s dealt with here is worse than a second rate episode of “Secret Life of an American Teenager”. For the producers to be able to call this a horror film they had to sprinkle in some scenes involving horror elements otherwise this would be nothing more than a angst driven moody snore fest.
It doesn’t help when your characters are as uninteresting as the main story. These simply are nothing more than teenage caricatures, a stereotypical representation of the modern day teenager. The subject could be interesting if you have well rounded characters. Here, you won’t remember one , nor be able to distinguish them apart from each other. The performances are lackluster with the exception of “Bates Motel” actress Oliva Cooke whom is decent and serviceable but not great by any means.
It doesn’t help when your characters are as uninteresting as the main story. These simply are nothing more than teenage caricatures, a stereotypical representation of the modern day teenager. The subject could be interesting if you have well rounded characters. Here, you won’t remember one , nor be able to distinguish them apart from each other. The performances are lackluster with the exception of “Bate’s Motel” actress Oliva Cooke whom is decent and serviceable but not great by any means.
Stiles White leads this production in his directorial debut. Although he is no stranger to the horror genre. White was the writer behind 2005’s “Boogyman”, and 2012’s “The Possession”. ( If those don’t inspire much confidence you’d be right to think that). White gives a stellar example of how not to direct your first feature film. “Ouija” lacks any directorial touch and is as bland and generic looking as any other horror movie on the market. “Ouija” is like a generic brand of paper towels. It looks like any other paper towel but lacks the craftsmanship of say a Bounty paper towel and breaks apart on you every time you use one of these generic paper towels.
Stiles White lack the talent or conviction to create atmosphere or tension. It’s incredible how un scary a film can be. Even the laziest of horror films can get one or two jumps scares to make us sharply jolt from our seats and drop the popcorn we had in our hands, even this “Ouija” lacks. You can predict when a jump scare is coming to very second it’ll happen and by then it doesn’t get to you.
“Ouija” is also home to horror’s most friendly demon outside of “Casper”. Remember seeing “The Exorcist” where you could feel the power of the demon inside this innocent little girl and couldn’t imagine the pain she was going through? Hell even the horrible “Devil’s Due” got the point across that having a demon inside of you was horrific and painful. In “Ouija” it makes the teens look like they are sleepwalking. Literally that’s what it makes it look. Sure some of the teens may die but seems like a pretty painless way to go. The definition of horror is defined as follows, “an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something fright fully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear”. I did not feel any of that whatsoever watching “Ouija”. I think there was an episode of “Scooby-Doo” once that had more frights then this.
I think I’ve driven the point home well enough that “Ouija” isn’t any good. I don’t take pleasure ripping into a movie but with something like “Ouija” it’s unavoidable. God willing there isn’t a sequel and if there is the first thing to do to get yourself on the best course for success, don’t hire anyone back from this one and bring on a whole new team and you’ve already done slightly better.