Ouija

Review by David Jenkins @daveyjenkins

Directed by

Stiles White

Starring

Ana Coto Daren Kagasoff Olivia Cooke

Anticipation.

Savaged critically in the US.

Enjoyment.

And for good reason!

In Retrospect.

If you expect literally nothing from the movies you pay to see, this will just — just! — about suffice.

Dire, imagination-free haunted-house horror which says you should never mess with killer ghosts.

When boardgames go bad… Yes, death lurks in the dusty corner of your cupboard/wardrobe/home storage solution as director Stiles White (sic) reveals that even carefree monkeyshines with friends have their mortal downside. It’s a film about that pre-teen right of passage: playing with a novelty plastic Ouija board on your Rainbow Bright duvet cover and accidentally invoking the dormant spirits of Hell.

Flash forward a few years and lissom, carefree Debbie (Shelley Hennig) decides to hang herself using some Christmas lights just minutes after conversing, like, totally normally with BFF Laine (Olivia Cooke), politely excusing herself from a night out at the local discotheque to stay home and eat pasta. The funeral rolls on like this was all some teenage inevitability, and no funny business is considered even though she showed zero signs of psychological damage. The olds just want to jet off on a sun holiday, best to forget their stiff-in-a-box offspring and move on. The law, too, would “never understand”. What else would any sane person do in this situation but gather up a distressed old Ouija board and get your pals out for a quick sesh?

To say this story is on auto-pilot would be sullying the good name of honest, reliable auto-pilots across the globe. This film makes auto-pilots look like Andy Kaufman in his pomp. Rolling on from one rote set up to the next, offing the human fleshpods in a series of bloodless, unimaginative and bourgeois ways (death by swimming pool cover!!) and with a twist so glaringly obvious it may as well be signalled with the ceremonial firing an anti-tank gun at three second intervals while a plane sky-writes the words, “Did anyone order a plot twist?”

Add to that some bargain-basement horror SFX and lots of Loud Things Happening, and well there you have it. Low-point: the kids enter an empty house and turn the lights on to find — boo! — their pal has just been standing there in the pitch darkness. “Hey, I always come in through the back door!” he assures. And scene.

Published 30 Oct 2014

Anticipation.

Savaged critically in the US.

Enjoyment.

And for good reason!

In Retrospect.

If you expect literally nothing from the movies you pay to see, this will just — just! — about suffice.

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