Dir: Stiles White
Bianca A. Santos
I am not a huge fan of horror films. Why? They don’t really scare me. The last time a horror film got to me was years ago, when I watched Signs at an age I really shouldn’t have. The recent trend in Hollywood horror films has bored me senseless, and I am afraid that Ouija is no different. Following on from recent films like Annabelle, this is a film in which not much really happens, relying on a few jumps to keep the audience entertained.
The film follows Laine Morris, played by Olivia Cooke, who feels that there is something not quite right after the death of her friend Debbie. She soon finds out that before Debbie’s apparent suicide, Debbie had been playing with a Ouija board. A spirit board which supposedly allows communication with the dead. Laine convinces her friends, including her sister Sarah to use the Ouija board in order to contact Debbie. It works, but the group then find themselves haunted by a spirit.
Ouija should come with a checklist of horror movie tropes. Doors opening by themselves, check. Scary attic, check. Scary basement, check. Creepy doll, check. Mental institution, check. Creepy photos from the past, check. It is so by the numbers, that 90% of the scares are predictable. I think I jumped once in the whole film. The script is very poor, the dialogue barely registering above exposition. This doesn’t help the acting, which is incredibly bad as well. You will never believe that this bunch of people have ever met each other, let alone are lifelong friends. In fact most of it is so preposterous, it is almost comical. At one point, Laine is told what to do to stop the haunting by her Grandma, without any previous explanation of how her Grandma knows this stuff, except that she’s old and foreign. The film is not great to look at either. The cinematography is messy, and adds no sense of tension to proceedings. In fact this film lacks any kind of tension or build up at all. Jumping from badly acted exposition to a quick scare. The pattern is easy to pick up, and soon the scares become signposted.
If the film has a saving grace, it’s that at 89 minutes long, it moves at a pace which keeps you interested enough to watch it to the end. Also once the spirit doing the haunting is revealed, the design is actually quite creepy. In fact if more time was spent with the spirit on screen it would have been a much scarier film.
Ouija, is a deeply unoriginal film. Offering a few scares to those uninitiated in horror films. It does have an entertaining third act, but most of the ideas can be seen on any horror or sci-fi based tv show, and probably better executed.