Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Horrors of 2014: Ouija (2014)

Ouija (2014)
Director: Stiles White
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, and Daren Kagasoff
Running Time: 89 min

  I remember when I was a kid, my sister and I got a Ouija board as birthday present.  We thought it was sooooo cool and we were very excited and nervous to play it.  We turned off the lights, it was in the middle of the day and we still had the sunlight through the windows to see, and we put our little fingers on the planchette and tried to speak to the spirits.  Then something happened that as a child and a good catholic school kid would never expect, nothing happened.  So, we got bored of the board and we went off to play with our other toys.  Hopefully, this movie won't be as disappointing as that.

  Laine and Debbie are little girls and Debbie has brought over her Ouija board for their sleepover.  She explains the rules to Lain, Never Ouija alone, Never Ouija in a graveyard, Don't Drink and Ouija because you'll regret it in the morning and always say Good-bye at the end.  Laine nods in acknowledgement and the two start their mystical journey into the world of Ouija.  They ask the spirits a question and then there's a noise...but it's only Laine's annoying little sister, Sarah.  However, they're pretty jazzed about getting spooked and keep playing into the night.
  Fast forward to the present, Debbie has apparently forgotten all the rules that she emphatically told Laine and is playing the Ouija alone.  After saying goodbye, she stuffs the board into her stunning fireplace and then gets a call from Laine, trying to convince her to come out and party with them.  Laine will not take no for an answer, so Debbie goes outside to let her know that she is okay, how excited she is to eat left overs and asks Laine if she remembers that game they used to play, what was it called again Monopoly, Parcheesi, Clue, no, the Ouija board! The thing that she just burnt but still can't remember the name of.  Anyway, Laine wishes her a good night and says that she'll see her tomorrow for breakfast, after a night of partying.  Debbie goes back into the house and finds the Ouija board that she just burned sitting untouched by the flames on her bed.  She then eats her shitty leftovers, takes down her Christmas lights and then hangs herself with them.  Those were some pretty terrible leftovers.
  The next morning, Laine and her boyfriend, Trevor, are hanging out at their hipster faux 50's diner waiting for Debbie and are being waited on by their other friend, Isabelle.  Laine gets a text that her dad needs her to come home right away.  She says goodbye to her friends, heads home and when she gets home, her whole family tells her the Debbie is dead.
  After the funeral, everybody is gathered at Debbie's house, including Debbie's boyfriend Pete, and Laine wonders up to Debbie's bedroom for old time sakes.  She think that she hears a noise coming from the closet.  She goes to investigate and gets startled by Debbie's mom.  She tells Laine how much Debbie loved having her as a friend and then asks her to keep an eye on the house for them while her and Debbie's dad on a vacation.  Laine agrees to it and finds Debbie's old Ouija on her bed.  The next night, Laine convinces her sister Sarah and her friends, Trevor, Isa and Pete to have a seance at Debbie's house to say goodbye.  They go to Debbie's house and Laine pulls out the old Ouija board, gives everybody the rules and then proceeds to summon the dead.  And they get somebody on that spiritual line.  The board spells out, "hi friend" and when asked who it is, the planchette points to the letter "D", so it must be Debbie.  This freaks the group out and they quit for the night.
  The next day on their way to high school(?), these students must have been held back a lot, each one of them gets a scary "hi friend" message.  So, they go back to Debbie's house that night and try to channel her again.  They get the same creepy spirit but after looking through the eye of the planchette, Laine sees that it is not Debbie but a little girl with her mouth sown shut.  And this little creepy ghost girl is being chased by her evil mother ghost!  This freaks the group out and there is now enough proof that Debbie didn't kill herself but it must have been the evil ghost mom spirit who did it.  Can Laine and her friends stop this evil ghost mom from growing stronger and killing them all off, one by one or is it too late and they have opened up a hellish doorway to the spirit world that can never close?


  Ummmm, I remember in the eighties there was a big controversy about toy company's making cartoons about their toy franchises because they thought that the cartoons were more of a half hour commercial for their product than an entertaining and stimulating show for youngsters. After watching this movie, I think that producer Michael Bay and the people at Hasbro have now taken that one step further with Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and now Ouija.
  This movie wasn't very good and could have probably left the rating at PG because there is really nothing here that is that scary.  This is the most by the numbers horror film that I've seen.  I like the concept, but the film plods along into unrealistic avenues and all attempts of believability are completely lost by the end.  For instance, Debbie is excited to clean the attic and records video of her exclaiming her love of cleaning.  Then comes down and records herself after she has found the Ouija board and her playing it alone.  Maybe I'm old, but who does that?  Also, Laine goes into the attic later on in the film and finds old pictures of the evil ghost mom and her daughters.  Wouldn't Debbie have found these pictures when she was cleaning and thought, cool old pictures of some freaky stuff or even the parents would have found them when they first moved in and wouldn't they have thrown that stuff out?  It's too far fetched for me.  There are so many things like that in this movie and by the end it just drove me nuts.  They find the dead body of a little girl in a secret room and neglect to call the police! WTF!
  Also, the characters, look far to old to be in high school and I feel bad for Ana Coto (DisConnected), who plays the badass girl Sarah because she has the worst looking haircut throughout the film.  It's ridiculous, these kids look to be in the mid twenties and there is no waaaay that they could pass for teens.  Why not just put them in college or something more apt to there age.
 Finally the worst part is that they gloss over the deaths.  This is a horror movie and I didn't think that the death scenes properly executed.  They were hinted at and touched on but weren't given the proper light that I was expecting.  We only find out one character is dead because Laine gets a phone call, who knows what happened to him/her.  Maybe he had his mom character call them and tell them that he was dead so he could get out of this film.

Buy a Ouija Board from Hasbro

  I think that there was an interesting story here and I like the idea of the reveal at the end, even though you can see it coming miles and miles away.  The make-up for the little girl is decent and so is the look of the corpse of her when they find it in the basement.


  This is a dull horror that has more flawed logic than it does jump scares.  Although, the idea of the story is alright, it gets muddled in it's over the top big budget, bad casting and overall unbelievability when it all comes together.  You have disappointed me again, Ouija.  So, if your looking for a far fetched, PG rated blockbuster horror that seems more like a commercial for a Ouija board, then play at your own risk.


  

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