The latest board game to film adaptation Ouija (pronounced wee-jee) provides one or two jump scares, along with diabolical acting, ropey pacing and cringe-inducing dialogue. Fortunately for director Stiles White, it’s wrapped in a pretty production package and is already a commercial hit. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this means sequels.
BFFs Debbie (Shelly Hennig) and Laine (Olivia Cooke) live a wonderful apple pie, white picket American life. That is until Debbie dabbles with a ouija board on her own and ends up hanging herself. Laine finds video footage of the summoning and enlists the help of her boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasof), sister Sarah (Ana Coto), disposable friend Isabelle (Bianca Santos) and Debbie’s boyfriend Pete (Douglas Smith) to embark on a right of passage through use of the board to find out what happened.
Based on the board game that was marketed as being based on a real occult practise, the film version Ouija is as awful, predictable and stupid as you suspect. Desperately trying to appeal to the young adult audience, it makes no effort in creating realistic suspense or tension, instead playing more like an episode of 90210 with the occasional ghost.
The story itself, complete with lame twist has been covered far more effectively in an episode of Supernatural called The Real Ghostbusters. So what’s left for the casual observer is a series of mindless scenes where the ˜actors,’ and we use the word loosely, experience what it is to grow up in modern society when you’re hunted by spirits. Namely, bad boy boyfriends, Skype chats and parents who inexplicably disappear on ˜business’ shortly after the sudden death of their daughters best friend. Truly an inspiration for all parents around the world.
The visual effects are worse than your bargain basement TV shows, and the story drips along with not much happening, before presumably realising it’s a paranormal teen horror and promptly massacring the majority of the cast. You’re not supposed to cheer at these points, but when the characters spend over an hour portraying emotion by looking confused in every scene, it’s actually a blessed relief. There’s even one moment when the disposable friend appears to have her mouth sown shut. It is a true disappointment when this is shown to be a vision.
Comfortably one of the worst major releases of the year, it should come as no surprise that there’s a sequel on the way. But while you wait for that no-doubt Oscar-winning effort, you’d be better off skipping this and watching Supernatural on TV.