Okay you know Hollywood is getting desperate when they are scraping into the board game barrel for a movie idea. Tonight’s review is on the latest horror story that involves another trip down the spirit communicating pathway. I’m talking about the movie Ouija, which from the trailers looked to be another simplistic scare story designed to make you fear the dark. Can this movie compete with the recently released Annabelle, or is it just another brick in the wall of moderately decent horror films.
I’ve never known Ouija to be a popular board game, but this isn’t the first time the simplistic board game has been put into a movie. Ouija seems to be remake of the films proceeding it, taking certain aspects of it’s predecessors and recycling them into one 90 minute mess. What do we get? The answer is a plot that has been pretty much told by the trailers, where one person dies playing the game, leading to her friends trying to uncover the “mystery” at hand. Ouija’s story is relatively straight and narrow that spends little time on developing any of the characters. Like most horror stories, there is a spiritual entity that has it out for the living,, the reason for it’s vengeance also often predictable. In this tale, they have attempted to put a little surprise in the works, but don’t be too hopeful, you can easily pick up on it before the big revelation. Despite the little surprise, Ouija starts a lot of things that it doesn’t tie up, which left me confused, disappointed, and rather annoyed. The motive for the spirit’s hauntings are ambiguous and vague, leading to an ending that left me wanting more movie to get a more complete picture.
Putting the shallow story on the side, let’s talk about the scares this movie has. For this reviewer there was little scary about the movie. Most of the jump out moments you can see coming a mile away, and the only thing that really scares you is the sudden blaring of music. Sure a few of the screams and creature designs are creepy, but once revealed the effect diminishes within seconds. As for creepiness, the setting is the justifying factor here, with the hidden dangers of the dark smothering you for most of the movie. Those afraid of the dark, or being alone for that matter are going to get a little freaked out. Unfortunately, the ridiculous choices and the lack of common sense take away from the little there is in this movie and makes it more funny than scary. The dramatic build up of scares is very unfulfilling at points, with strange occurrences happening for a few seconds and then nothing. Even the kills in this movie lacked edge, many of which were cheesy and done with in manner of seconds. You heard me seconds, and the problem is that for the most part they are all happening the same way. Such mainstream, dull death gets boring after a while. In addition everything becomes rushed near the end of the movie, diminishing the thrills for a rather hasty conclusion. Oh well at least it’s only 90 minutes of our lives right?
Perhaps the last thing to discuss about this movie is the actors. Well the biggest strength is that they are all pretty. I like to call this the SyFy syndrome, where the casting grabs the hottest people they can find to give us eye candy. Maybe it’s an attempt to distract reviewers from the failings of this movie, or maybe it’s a way to give us sweet justice by seeing hot, rich people, fall. Either way your eyes are treated to their beauty, but outside of that there isn’t much. They are not bad actors, after all they know how to look and act scared. It’s just that there is nothing spectacular about this performance, and it’s merely a movie one could have watched on T.V. and been just fine. The exception would be Lin Shaye, who once again dives into the role of a woman bordering on the line of sanity from the horrors she has seen. Shaye’s role is very small, but her talents maximize the little screen time she has. Be assured that there will be no Oscars handed out for the performances in this movie, but these stars have great potential for future movies so long as they get better characters. I understand that this is a PG-13 movie, but since many PG-13 movies these days have a little more bite, I think this could have gotten some sharper fangs.
Ouija is not the Halloween hit you might be looking for this season. A rather bland story, scares that fall short, and a rather monochromic cast leads to a recipe for disaster. The movie had potential I think, but there wasn’t enough done to really make me terrified at the tale at hand. If you are dying for a Halloween film, I suggest you turn to the Book of Life, or revisit a classic horror film instead. I honestly cannot recommend seeing this film in theaters though. My scores for Ouija are:
Movie Overall: 3.5-4.0