A board game gone wrong. Why even play it?
Ouija is Hasbro’s priced property- in other words, it is an adaptation of their very own board game of the same name. The problem is, how is one ever going to turn a boring, collector’s item (?) into a horror movie? Of course, you add in some horror elements. And there comes profits.
Spoilers ahead, so be warned.
Laine and Debbie are best of friends. When young, Debbie is introduced to this Oujia board, but I guess she should never even realize the purpose of that board, since it’s that very board which resulted in her death several years later. Of course, both incidents happen to be unrelated, but had Laine not brought this up when they were both still young at heart, she would have regarded it as yet another junk and dumped it aside.
Of course, the rest of the movie is about false endings and horrible pacing. After attempting to communicate with the dead Debbie, because who would ever want to forget about one’s friend when they can attempt to communicate, that’s when they pretty much spend the rest of the film dwelling into generic territory- realizing there’s something out there disturbing them, realizing they have not been talking to Debbie all along, and of course trying to exterminate that monster they have unleashed. Oh, and they die one by one too, if you’re wondering.
For a horror movie, it’s really pathetic when I tell you there are hardly any worthy scares. Okay, here’s what I mean- all you get are false startles which result in nothing, or we are left with cheap jump scares which really aren’t that impactful. Nothing atmospheric or close. Seriously, I hardly found myself jumping out of my seat throughout this film. And if this isn’t a horror movie, I would have pardoned it, but since it is, I guess it failed the only thing it had to do. There isn’t anything tense of that sort. It just feels like the filmmakers behind this film just tried to piece together a film, and reuse old cliches in the genre, combining familiar scares and creating a film, solely for the purpose of closing their deal with Hasbro. I mean, if they have to finish it, they have to finish it, isn’t it? Yeah, so in comes the usual- gas stove lighting up? Check. Doors openings? Check. Oh, that’s actually your family or your friend? Check.
As with any ‘cheap’ horror movie, we get a pathetic storyline with characters that are hard to sympathize with. In this film, we get Laine, who is pretty much one of the most fearless characters you will ever encounter on film. She isn’t afraid of everything. She does everything with composure, that you hardly ever feel afraid for her. Hey, if you want us to feel scared, why would we if we don’t even need to feel for the protagonist? Apart from that problem with Laine, all the characters in this film are undercooked. We don’t get to learn enough about them before they die. That makes their death all the more unimportant.
False stops throughout the film might have been meant to be major ‘TWISTs!!!’, but seriously, they all fail miserably, especially when the film we happen to be talking about seems so boring and slow. Just as we thought we’re at the end, we realize ‘Hey, those evil creatures are still alive!’ and then that happens over and over again. Just as the film makes us think its all about to end, then BOOM comes yet another death, and without any sort of breathing space, we get yet another attempt to destroy whatever’s after them. They all fail to work out, and add that with its horrible pacing, and we are left with a sub-par film which never really works out.
The film’s cast is mediocre at best, with none of them seemingly trying hard here to humanize their characters. Olivia Cooke’s Laine character, as mentioned earlier, never feels weak, and never once do we doubt that things aren’t going to go her way.
The cinematography can be praised, though, with some long sweeping shots. If you’re scared here, you probably have to thank David Emmerichs, for he’s probably the only one of two great things this film has going for it.
Lin Shaye, no matter how brief her appearance in the film is as DZ’s sister, is the scene stealer yet again. She’s creepy, insane, and yeah, we get that just by seeing the ‘crippled’ old lady. She plays the only character in the film who is somewhat memorable after the first viewing. She’s gone too quickly, though. I might have been more kind to this film had she been there since the beginning, in a bigger role. Seriously, she’s the only other thing this film has going for it, apart from Emmerichs. Apart from that, avoid this mess. Unless you’re really bored.
And here’s my final verdict:
2/10 (Boring horror movie without the scares; tense and creepy at times, but nothing materializes, uninteresting characters fail to grip audience, horrible pacing and cliche storyline, but with Lin Shaye in a glorified cameo)
On a scale of A to F, where F means stupid and dumb and ridiculous, and anything that you possibly wouldn’t love, and where A symbolizes perfection,
Character Development: E
Entertainment Factor: D
Acting: D, but C- thanks to Lin Shaye