Ouija (2014) – Review

Directed by Stiles White
Written by Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Starring  Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff
A group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they 
awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board.

Note: Okay, watched this more than a week ago, half wrote a review for it and then stared at what I’d written every day for about five days before deciding to finally finish it. Heaving sighs notwithstanding, such was my ambivalence. So forgive me if it comes across as a little blase and , dare I say it, a bit choppy. I hate lazy writing in others and therefore I’m not proud of myself, but it is what it is. Anyway, review-time!!

Lest ye be too quick to judge gentle reader, please remember, you were once PG13 yourself, like me probably a while ago. This may be horror for those audience members only recently becoming unsettled and impatient by the Disney Channel, but nonetheless, young teenagers deserve to have the fear of evil put into them, just like the rest of us (more so, probably). And here, if we’re honest, we’re going to break them in gently, the little cherubs.

Like it or not, Ouija made four times it’s production budget in its first weekend in cinemas, so chances are you might be seeing more of these if Hollywood’s lusty avarice is any kind of guide, which it usually is, and whilst it is unlikely to garner too much praise critically or from those that like their horror, well… horrible, you can’t say that it’s all bad. Not if your thirteen, at least.

When, in a turn of events admittedly predictable enough to set your watch by, a pretty young woman hangs herself with some fairy lights from her landing, her equally pretty young friends are understandably perplexed. Why did she do it? It was, like, totally out of character, she had so much to live for. Of course, there must be mitigating circumstances contributing to this hottie’s unnaturally early demise.

Despite leaving clues to her impending doom by actually giving the reason for it to her best friend only hours before she shrugged off her mortal coil, it still takes a good third of the movie for the collected group of young adults to really catch up with the rest of us and even longer than that before they really begin to understand the problems associated with the reason and how it could also effect them. Too late by then, of course, as individually each one of the friends falls victim to the evil spirit spewing its menace out of the Ouija board that they have by now, all been merrily mucking about with. A grown up should be telling them, at least at some point, that this won’t end well.

However, there doesn’t appear to be any adults of any kind of authority in this entire movie, no one to shout NONSENSE!! at them in VERY LOUD VOICES, no one to properly burn the offending article, or even lend a hand with Christ’s own wood-chipper or their trusty axe of biblical proportions as clearly throwing the thing into a fire makes no difference, nor stops it from somehow managing to remain both unscathed and in a completely different position from where it was only moments ago, despite not having any legs or quantifiable free will of its own that science currently understands at this time.

The performances are right up there with many other ‘screaming your head off like your hair is on fire’ projects and once too often, I was reminded of the dull, relentless inevitability of Final Destination, where other young, beautiful people are slowly and deliberately picked off by an unforgiving force of nature that doesn’t care a jot about how pretty/chiseled you are. This is, of course, a completely different force at work here, but nonetheless just as studious.

As horror movies go, it is a young persons scary outing. Of the many almost horrid scenes that never come to fruition, the most satisfying was the almost comical  ‘bumps head on sink’ moment that actually made me laugh. Whether that was my sadistic streak or not, I’m not sure, but I’m fairly certain it wasn’t meant to be funny. Overall, Ouija lacks any kind of bite for real horror fans, but for the uninitiated scare virgins out there, it will go quite nicely with a bucket of popcorn.


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