In some ways, Ouija is unlike the slew of supernatural teen thrillers out there today. Ouija is very much a slow burner. It takes its time to develop the story and add tension, very rarely relying on scary images. At least, that’s what it seems to be trying to do. In reality, the movie moves at a glacier pace and has very little reward to it. Everything about this film is mediocre at best. The film follows Laine (Olivia Cook) and her group of friends as they try and seek out answers surrounding their friend’s recent suicide. They, of course, use a Ouija board in an attempt to contact her, but instead awaken a dark, ancient spirit that begins to kill off the friends one by one in a very Final Destination manner.
Constructing an entire film around the basic concept of a Ouija board makes for a fairly shallow film. Couple that with a drawn out plot and you’ve got yourself a movie that has a 90-minute runtime that feels way longer. Unfortunately for Ouija, its attempt to stand apart from other horror films that practically throw the blood and guts in your face just doesn’t pay off. The writing, directing, and acting may be harmless, but it is far from accomplished. Such is the case with most of these types of movies, but because Ouija seems to be taking itself a little too seriously, it loses any potential of being fun and just falls flat on its boring face.
I won’t bother regaling you with the countless plot holes, but suffice it to say I had to continually tell myself to stop asking so many questions. Why did Laine see someone in the attic then two minutes later is talking to her friend as if nothing happened? Doesn’t matter, I guess. I was at least hoping for some decent scary ghosts, but the frightening visuals were few and far between. The most horrifying shot in the entire film was, hands down, when Laine’s friend Isabelle (Bianca Santos) is killed by the evil spirit—her bathtub overflows, and we’re given a very graphic shot of her socks getting completely soaked. Ugh. Wet socks. Gives me chills just thinking about it.
Ouija opens today in Philly area theaters.
Author: Catherine Haas
Catherine Haas is a native Philadelphian who received her master’s in film history from Columbia University. She is a freelance film programmer, writer, and an avid pug enthusiast.