Ouija (2014)

The Battleship of Horror Movies

Ouija (2014)I don’t know if I’ve just stopped paying attention or if some movies just don’t cross my path, but I’ve recently been coming across a lot of movies I had never heard about until it releases and then the movie blows up on social media. That was the case with today’s movie. I had no idea this movie existed until my friend Kori requested it. Since it was a horror movie, I figured it was a good enough way to end the October Horrorthon, so I got my tickets and sat down to watch Ouija, written by Juliet Snowden, co-written and directed by Stiles White, and starring Olivia Cooke, Shelley Hennig, Daren Kagasoff, Ana Coto, Douglas Smith, and Lin Shaye.

Longtime friends Laine Morris (Olivia Cooke) and Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig) start experimenting with a Ouija board at a young age. In their teens, Debbie starts acting weird. And by weird, I mean she kills herself via hanging. In Debbie’s room, Laine finds a very old Ouija board and collects her boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), her sister Sarah (Ana Coto), and Debbie’s boyfriend Pete (Douglas Smith) and tries to contact Debbie. Turns out that was a bad idea. Then bad stuff happens and they go visit Paulina (Lin Shaye) in an asylum.

This review has been spoiled for some that paid enough attention on my Facebook page to see me call this movie “garbage.” Given some time removed from it, my opinion has softened into “crap.” It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen by far, but it’s very boring and entirely unoriginal. And the unoriginal part is not entirely unexpected from a horror movie as they often follow a fairly typical format, but some can redeem themselves with some suspense and scares. This movie didn’t do that either. And it wasn’t particularly well written either, not that you’d expect it to be with the other precedence of movies based on board games, like Battleship. In the very beginning of the movie, Debbie kills herself by hanging herself with Christmas lights and yet no one tried to cheer anyone up by saying, “Yes, she’s dead … but it was SUPER festive!” Later, when they all go to Debbie’s house to try to contact her, they all act surprised that Debbie’s boyfriend is already there, as if he wasn’t supposed to be there. Really? He should’ve been the first person you dragged along on this. Not your own boyfriend with no real connection to Debbie, not your sister with no real connection to Debbie, but her boyfriend. It at least warrants an invite. And then when they actually do “contact Debbie,” the spirit they’re talking with identifies itself only as “D,” which shows the fatal flaw in the characters that none of them know a single other name that starts with a D than Debbie, so obviously it must be her, suspiciously not fully identifying herself for some reason. And they still believe it’s Debbie when she starts dropping “hi friend” messages all over the place for them, even though one of them was carved into someone’s desk. Was Debbie a douche in her life to make you think she would say hello by permanently defacing your property?

There were two big problems with the scares in this movie: there weren’t any and there weren’t any a lot. What I mean by that is that it wasn’t scary, but they went for the “fooled you” scare too much, which is when they build up suspense as if something scary is about to happen and then one of the friends just jumps around a corner instead of a scary thing. And when they finally started showing the “scary things,” they looked like shit.

The actors did satisfactory jobs in the movie, but the characters did not. The main issue I take in the entire movie is with Debbie’s entire family. Why wouldn’t the dead former resident’s stuff be the very first thing you’d clean out of your house? Even if you’re not worried about ghosts accompanying the stuff, it’s still some dead people’s crap that’s cluttering your attic. And then there was Debbie’s boyfriend … or Laine’s boyfriend. I don’t remember. Well when one of them was shown something, they look at it and say, “From the look, I’d say it’s from the ‘40’s.” Did anyone think to question when he became an expert so he could just explain how he knows these things because he’s TiVo’ed hundreds of episodes of Antiques Roadshow?

The movie Ouija was uninspired, boring, and didn’t make much sense. And what’s even worse is that this movie was not scary at all. And it technically should’ve had an easier time scaring me since I was constantly in a state of dozing off during this movie. There’s hardly a better time to scare me! The decent enough performances by some of the cast was nowhere near enough to salvage this movie. Don’t see this movie unless those things are what you’re looking for in a movie. And even if they are, don’t see it. You need therapy much more. Ouija gets “I don’t think this is a good idea” out of “I’m done with this.”

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