OSW Review | Ouija (2014)
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Ouija (2014)


Not to be confused with The Ouija experiment’s films, or the 2015 film of the same name!


Cast/Crew: Directorial Debut by Stiles White (who wrote The Possession)

Plot: Two girls, Debbie and Olivia, played the ouija board when they were kids. After Debbie apparently commits suicide, Olivia ropes her mates into using the board to hopefully say goodbye.

Thoughts on the film:
• Did you know? Even though types of spirit boards were used in China from at least from the 1100s, it was patented by businessman Elijah Bond in 1891. It’s now owned by Hasbro, which makes this whole spiel far less scary!
• Also, due to poor test screenings, half of the film was re-shot! What is now the setup to the film (Debbie dying) was a much larger part; where Debbie plays ouija alone, contacts the ghost until the sessions grew too hostile and the ghost killed her. Also new parts were added, such as the ghost’s living sister Paulina, now in a psych ward (a great choice).
• I enjoyed how they set out the RULES of the ouija, the main one that you should never play alone.
• Despite obvious warnings that there is a malevolent spirit around (one of her friends is shoved into a mirror, cracking it) Olivia’s solution to everything is let’s play the ouija board again.
• Tons of “you startled me” jump scares. BOOOOOO. Unfortunately the crux of the horror film is it’s, well, horror and the film shows you it doesn’t have a bite.
• The ghost calls itself DZ – bah God it’s Dolph Ziggler – I’m here to show the world come onnnnnnn!
• You know you’re in trouble when the ghost contacts you and your pals outside a seance – with the startling jump-scare and the message “Hi friend”.
• I enjoy the plot device of trying to end the film early – and of course it doesn’t work, it makes things worse. It shows some cop-on by the characters.
• Olivia also has constitution of steel – Despite her torch rolling away and showing a creepy doll, and seeing a ghost child walking in the attic, she matter-of-factly continues her search through a box of belongings.
• Sticking with tradition, after a big run around and many friends dying, the final act takes place in a newly-discovered room in the first house.
• The lore of the film is that the mother of DZ (Doris Zander) was abusive, was into witchcraft and spirit-channeling (including using her daughter as a conduit) and likely killed DZ; and sewn her mouth shut.
• The ghost displays some new mad skills, taking the form of a friend – previously it’d just scratch things, turn off the lights, move things around, maybe a force shove. Putting dead friends in a  waiting ‘back turned’ pose reminds me of Blair Witch.
• The thought of getting trapped by a pool covering is terrifying. Happened in Unbreakable, happens here, freaks me out. Good stuff!
• There’s one last game of Ouija where a ghost ‘physically’ plays the board, I LOVE IT.

Overall: Pretty bog-standard horror film. I think I’ve been quite kind to it but the story, characters are pretty bland and the horror is mostly jump scares and then a CG ghost flying towards the camera – can’t recommend. However, looking through the ouija ‘mouse’ (a planchette) is money though, great for anticipation of a scare.

Details

Release Date
September 25, 2015