‘Ouija’ fails to scare and entertain

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First Posted: 10/27/2014

Look, I get it. I understand. Nobody sets out in this life to willingly participate in a movie like “Ouija”. Nobody looks all starry-eyed at a script that’s adapted from a Hasbro board game and says things like, “I’m hitchin’ my wagon to this movie because “Ouija” is taking me straight to the top”. Mainly because it’s no longer 1935 and Mickey Rooney is dead. Nonetheless, my point still stands. “Ouija” is a rent check. It’s a personal favor to the studio. It’s something you do because, for reasons too complicated to get into here, you owe Hasbro a lot of money and they’re threatening to send a lawyer to your house to beat you with a pillowcase filled with irregular Rubik’s Cubes. It’s a means to an end, basically. But even though a movie like “Ouija” is little more than an act of corporate synergy, there really isn’t any reason why you can’t have a little bit of fun with this premise.

Maybe there’s a scene where the Ouija board drags the ghost of Jim Henson and the headless spirit of Jayne Mansfield into our world where they have an erotically charged fight scene in an amusement park? Maybe the Ouija board has a duel purpose? Maybe it not only causes ghosts to materialize in our universe but could also send its living users into the afterlife where erotically charged events with Jayne Mansfield’s headless ghost charges the silver screen erotically? I don’t know. But the possibilities are endless. Sad really, that the filmmakers never seemed to be aware of these possibilities. Nobody is trying to have any fun here. In fact, nobody is even trying.

In “Ouija”, a group of boring, interchangeable teens with cold, lifeless and chillingly empty eyes are, apparently, very sad over the suicide of their friend even though they react to her death with the vague irritation of somebody who just realized they ran out of the Verde sauce at Taco Bell. Questioning the mysterious circumstances of their friend’s suicide, the group tries to contact the girl from the other side through an Ouija board and manages to unleash an evil spirit called Mother. After a series of bloodless deaths that, at times, border on slapstick, Mother is defeated in the most anticlimactic way possible (OR. IS. SHE? Freeze frame! Glowing cat eyes! The sound of Vincent Price laughing!)

“Ouija” is the type of film that thinks that people are so dull they’d actually take endless footage of themselves quietly playing with an Ouija board alone or that their childhoods were filled with days where they’d dream of what their college dorm rooms would look like. “Ouija” is the type of film that leans heavily on the horror movie equivalent to fart jokes, ‘the jump scare’. In short, “Ouija” hates you. I’m hard-pressed to think of a film more generic, poorly paced and uninvolving than “Ouija”. In fact it doesn’t even feel like a movie. It feels like somebody edited together a bunch of stock photos and product shots of a Ouija board and released it as a movie. The script feels like it was adapted from an unfinished page from a book of Madlibs where the only space someone filled in was the one that read, “Name of a board game”. The laziness in this film doesn’t border on contempt, it’s pure, unfiltered contempt. “Ouija” laughs at you and your selfish desire to be entertained. “You will sit here and you will watch the cast indifferently mouth-breathe through their dialogue”, “Ouija” seems to snicker. Predictable, very dumb and frustrating, the only thing preventing this film from receiving zero Ws is that “Ouija” kind of sounds like Luigi and who doesn’t love “Super Mario Brothers?” Not this guy! I love “Super Mario Brothers”!