By Lynn Sorel
Ouija – Review
Rating: 5 out of 10
Synopsis: A group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board.
Our Thoughts: To be honest, I thought that Ouija had a lot of promise going into it, but I was sorely disappointed. This is one of those movies that shows you the best bits of the movie in the previews, which is a bit of a letdown when the viewer sees the film in its entirety. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe I’ve just seen the same thing way too many times. To be honest, Ouija failed to scare me and it did nothing new or original.
Ouija starts off strong, with teenager Debbie Galardi hanging herself in an apparent suicide, after trying unsuccessfully to burn a Ouija board. Following the suicide, the movie slows way down. Laine Morris, Debbie’s best friend, along with her other friends, attend a service for Debbie held in her home. Later Laine goes through Debbie’s things and investigates what was happening leading up to her death. Of course, she finds out that she had used Ouija board. In an effort to find out what really happened to her, Laine, and friends Trevor, Isabelle, Debbie’s boyfriend Pete, and Laine’s sister Sarah use the board to try and talk to Debbie. Predictably, the entity that responds is not Debbie, but someone more sinister, and begins to haunt each of them. The movie is very slow and works hard to build suspense.
For those who saw this and felt like they had seen it before, it’s because you very nearly have. Replace the Ouija Board with a video tape and you have “The Ring”. This movie steals so much from The Ring it borders on ridiculous. From starting with the death of a teenager girl, to the memorial service inside her home, the investigation of what caused it, and subsequent haunting of all who use the board. However, unlike The Ring, Ouija fails to bring the fear. I jumped twice during the movie and was not even a little bit scared by anything it had to offer. The scenes meant to be the scariest came off more cheesy than menacing. While it had a creepy atmosphere, and slick special effects, it lacked a suspenseful, scary story and any shred of originality.
The bright spot in all this is the acting., which was probably the strongest point of the film, with everyone giving strong performances. Olivia Cooke, who also stars in “Bates Motel” on A&E, was particularly believable as determined friend Laine. Known for her role as the psychic in the Insidious franchise, Lin Shaye, who plays Paulina Zander, is outstanding as well. If not for its high budget and a strong effort from the cast, I would rate this movie lower than I did. Ouija is enjoyable if you’re looking for a spooky movie with a Ouija board, but if you really want to be scared, or a good story, you won’t find it here.