Tweetable Takeaway: What’s scarier than flossing spirits? Ouija’s boring plot and bland characters.Tweet
By: Wil Loper, Contributor
What happens when you stick a group of teens with a board game meant just for fun, but end up summoning dead spirits instead? No, I’m not talking about that time in high school where my friends and I thought it would be a good idea to play Twister in a graveyard, I’m referring of course to OUIJA, the latest horror movie to hit theaters.
Five really pretty high-schoolers, who look like they’re about 29-years-old, haul out their recently deceased friend’s spirit board in the hopes of re-connecting with her. Why? I don’t know, maybe to ask if it’s okay for her boyfriend to change his Facebook relationship status.
But as it often happens in these situations, the group unwittingly summons an evil spirit of a dead woman instead. We really need better border patrol on these spiritual doorways. This evil spirit starts writing with chalk on scary tunnels, pushing grocery carts around, and in general making loud noises guaranteed to make all the tweens in the audience jump. When the spirit starts picking off the teens, mostly while they’re flossing, we know it means business, and it’s up to Laine Morris (Olivia Cooke, looking like a combination of Rose Byrne and Jessica Alba) to figure out how to put an end to the supernatural shenanigans.
Among other things, this involves consulting with the lady from Insidious (Lin Shaye, in a role that could have been a great wink to the horror audience but instead is wasted) and her Hispanic housekeeper, who of course is well versed in the ways of the spirit board and supernatural. The movie follows the course of movies such as Annabelle in that it takes an object that is inherently creepy (wooden doll in Annabelle, Ouija board in Ouija) and squanders every chance to use the object in a truly scary way.
Listening to the audience during these movies, it seems clear that many moviegoers are paying for an experience rather than a movie. After every jump-scare, the chatter in the audience seems to go along the lines of, “Wow, that one totally got me!” or “Did you see how high I jumped?” Instead of focusing on creating interesting characters or coherent plot points, Ouija, along with many other horror movies, seems content to slam a door and call it a day. Money would be better spent at a haunted attraction, where you have actual people jumping out and scaring you. You’ll be missing the slow creepy building up to let you know when the scare is coming, but you’ll also be wasting a lot less of your time.
There is nearly nothing unique or interesting to keep anyone looking for a worthwhile movie invested. There are mouths sewn shut we’ve seen before. Ghosts with exceptionally dark and scary looking mouths: Been there. Even the Ouija Board itself is a concept I’ve been hoping horror movies would ditch for a while now. At the very least, the evil ghosts could kill the teens in interesting, Final Destination ways. But at its worst, a character hits her head on a bathroom sink. If you’re looking for a scary experience to celebrate Halloween, you won’t find it at the movie theater with Ouija. Instead, grab some friends, your Ouija board (or heck, even your Twister board) and find a haunted forest. I give it 1.5 scary flossings out of 5.
Score: 1.5 out of 5