Film in review: “Ouija”

Allison Mueller

Elizabeth Pulanco/ Winonan

Viewers don’t need someone to tell them a movie based off of a board game is not worth spending their money on, but I’ll tell them anyway. “Ouija,” the movie based off the Hasbro game of the same name, tries and fails to be the horror movie it hoped to be.

The movie presents to the audience a group of teenagers after the mysterious suicide of their friend Debbie.

Laine, Debbie’s best friend remembers them playing with the Ouija board when the two were young.

Reminiscing with her boyfriend, Laine said they would pretend to summon spirits with the game. Still grieving the death of her friend, Laine wants to use the board to communicate with Debbie and clear up the mystery behind her suicide.

Laine invites four other friends, including her sister, boyfriend and Debbie’s former boyfriend to use the board.  To the amazement of Laine and her friends, the board works, and they end up speaking to a spirit they think is Debbie. This spirit actually belongs to one of the former inhabitants of the house, whose practice in dark magic wreaks havoc against the whiney teens.

Nearly everything in this movie is cheesy and predictable, from the overly dramatic death scenes to the constant use of stereotypical horror movie elements. These elements included creepy children, flickering lights and the mysterious turning on of kitchen appliances.

The movie’s saving grace was the interesting backstory of the spirits who were roaming around in the house, but their spooky antics didn’t spook enough.

There were a couple of jump-in-your-seat moments, but there were many more moments where you found yourself rolling your eyes. The most annoying thing about this movie was the less than subtle way they set the film up for a sequel. To save themselves some money, they could have easily just cut the last scene and put “there will be a sequel” at the end before rolling the credits.

The performances in this movie were mediocre at best. The actors did as well as they could with the bland script and lukewarm plot.

Olivia Cooke, who plays protagonist Laine, is thankfully the least annoying character in the movie. Even though the weak script and scenery make Laine come off as stiff and somewhat boring, she manages to remain likeable and sympathetic.

The weakest link in the film by far was Robyn Lively, who only appears shortly as Debbie’s mom. Lively was much too upbeat as a mother whose daughter had just unexpectedly killed herself. The lack of emotion in her character was distracting and sort of disturbing. The rest of the characters, are unfortunately forgettable stereotypes who are often found in all movies, like the rebellious sibling and constantly skeptical friend who goes along with everything anyway.

Even with all the flaws some audience members still found the film enjoyable, like moviegoer Jackie Lettner.

“I thought it was a scary enough movie,” Lettner said. “It wasn’t too scary, but it was just right.”

With a PG-13 rating, the movie doesn’t really stretch itself in making it super scary or gory. Although the movie may not be ideal for horror film fanatics, it would be nice for people who are just seeing their first horror film. If people are looking for a good scare, I would just stick to the classics.