It feels so clichéd to start my review by complaining about the clichéd stupid characters in horror movies, but I just can’t help myself. You wonder what horror movies would do without stupid teenagers doing stupid things? (probably find someone else for the audience to feel superior to) In this new film we have said stupid teenagers messing with spirits through an ouija board, but will this produce any decent scares?
After her best friend Debbie (Shelley Henning) supposedly commits suicide, distraught teenager Laine (Olivia Cooke) struggles to move on. Wanting to say goodbye properly to Debbie she convinces her friends to use an Ouija board she found in Debbie’s house to try to contact her. Needless to say things do not go well.
Produced by Michael Bay’s Platnium Dunes and BlumHouse Production (responsible for low-budget horror such as The Conjuring and The Purge), Ouija was originally conceived as a big budget family movie based on Hasbro’s Ouija board game. This was eventually changed to a low-budget horror movie. These changes may be why the resulting film seems so rushed and struggling with any original ideas.
Whether it’s the uninspiring deaths, the half-assed plot twists and last act revelations, the movie often misses the mark. Maybe its having just seen The Babadook but this movie really looks like a cynical attempt to cash in around Halloween. I know Hollywood studios have to make money but couldn’t they have tried a little harder to make the film a more frightening experience? BlumHouse Productions have shown with The Conjuring that it can combine good acting and proper shocks to unnerve its audience effectively, so why drop the ball with Ouija?
A few good aspects stops this from being a complete disaster. There are a few ok scares and occasional creepy image that did have me jumping in my seat. Olivia Cooke makes for a sympathetic lead despite her character’s stupidity. The rest of the cast is barely fleshed out beyond horror clichés, the boyfriend, the wayward sister etc. It’s also the kind of movie that would be better on tv and dvd than on the big screen.
Rating 2/5 – alright for a mindless night out, but its an ultimately forgettable supernatural horror