We’ve all done it as kids, played with something that we didn’t entirely understand then learned it was either dangerous or at the very least inappropriate. “Ouija” is a dull little PG 13 horror thriller that doesn’t quite hit the mark as it plays it far too safe with nothing that is all that scary.
She did the one thing that you are never supposed to do, she used the board alone. After the tragic and mysterious death of one of their friends, this group of teens getting ready to head off into the world has to stare their own mortality in the face as they discover that something should never be played with. This kids game has actually opened a gateway to another side with some angry and malevolent forces who want to make sure that this door never closes again.
More cookie cutter than anything else, “Ouija” isn’t terrible but it is very dull and inspired without any genuine characters to get behind.
Shot on a small (by studio standards) budget of $5 million, director Stiles White actually makes a pretty solid looking film maxing out his locations and never trying for any visual effects that would look hokey or fake. Coming from a special effects background he knows how to max his visuals without drawing too much budget, however that is not where the problem lies in this story.
To put it simply, the script is just terribly weak and I mean weak. Hampered by a PG 13 rating, coming out of the Blumhouse productions movie factory (which has a very hit and miss track record) and Hasbro, it is near impossible to make an effective scary movie when the blood is minimal and the scares feel muted even at the best of times. The dialogue is crummy and feels like it is out of the most basic “How To Write a Horror Movie” handbook. These kinds of movies only work if we give a damn about any of the actual characters and this time out it just felt like it was incredibly phoned in with no effort to get us to buy into what is happening to these kids or to any element of the story. When the first girl dies, it only takes a few minutes for practically every other adult in their lives to head out of town and leave them alone. The narrative was fighting against us actually giving a damn.
The bulk of the leads can barely crack double digits for screen credits and aren’t even remotely credible to carry a feature film. It is a case of casting by looks, as they are mostly in their early 20’s and look very attractive but need more seasoning to be able to take part in telling a genuine story.
Weak material doesn’t make inexperienced actors stronger, if anything it makes them look much, much worse. “Ouija” while not without some raw potential fails miserably because it is a movie designed for an opening weekend and not one to tell an honest to goodness scary story.
1 out of 5 stars.
“Ouija” is now playing in theatres everywhere, please check with local listings for show times.