Horrortoberfest 2014: Day 31 – Ouija (2014)

ouija

I always feel like horror movies are best experienced in a movie theater and so I figured as my last movie of Horrortoberfest I should go see something that was currently playing. I also think horror gets better when you are watching in a group but there was sadly only four other people in the theater with me for this one. Still, the scares on a big screen with loud surround sound screams tend to be a bit more effective. Which is good since Ouija tends to be a fairly middle of the road, predictable offering that has plenty of modern style but lacking in ingenuity.

The story revolves around Laine and her friends after the tragic suicide of her long time best friend, Debbie. We see that Laine and Debbie used to play around with one of those cheap, plastic Ouija boards when they were kids and when Laine finds a nice, wooden one in Debbie’s room, she tries to contact her friend in order to say goodbye. Of course this just makes it so that ghosts can come wreck her shit and the shit of all her friends that were there when they used the board. We get the background on the house and why there are mean ol’ spirits haunting around and a bunch of teens die along the way. Hooray!

The movie isn’t terrible but it suffers from several glaring weaknesses. The effects are fairly good but end up becoming a bit overused especially towards the end of the movie. When it starts, you get told that looking through the planchette lets you see ghosts. This makes it so that anytime someone starts to bring that piece of wood anywhere near their face, you get some great “Oh shit are there gonna be ghosts?” moments. Sadly we end up with several times the answer being “Yes and now let us linger upon them for a bit too long.” By the time the movie is wrapping up, we are just sitting around hanging out with the ghost instead of it being a threatening presence that could show up. It’s the suspense of when and how the monster will show that is great so lingering on it without purpose makes it feel a bit flat.

Probably the worst issue with the movie is the writing. The lines that most of the characters have are just terrible. I mean, I don’t expect Shakespeare from my teen horror film but I do want people to not actively sound like they are spouting movie dialogue that is written specifically for trailer sound bites. Also, the thing that super pissed me off, is the establishing of rules and then hand-waving them. We get told the Ouija board rules: Never play alone, always say the opening phrase, and always end by saying good bye (one of the spaces on the board). So we find out Debbie played alone and oh ho ho, now we know why this is happening. Then they use it, do everything right including say good bye, and then they all get haunted anyway. Oh, hey, new rule told halfway through is never use it in a graveyard and the house is actually a graveyard so fuck you. Way to add new rules. Also, they are shown playing around with this in the house as kids. If the rule broken was because of the graveyard, we should have had some super haunted eight year olds.

Anyway, I give the movie a 2.5 out of 5. There are still some well done scares and some cheap jump scares as well. Also, this whole movie feels like someone tried to make The Ring about a Ouija board instead of a video tape and fucked it up.

Favorite thing in the movie: Debbie looking through the planchette in the start is a really well shot, creepy moment.

Least favorite thing: Every plot point is about as obvious as you can get. You can very easily tell everything from who will die first to what the ending will be.

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