<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Stiles White. Starring Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca Santos, Douglas Smith, Shelley Hennig, Lin Shaye
This isn’t great acting but it is good at getting you to jump a little and get goose bumps and I haven’t had that happen in a while.
Ouija isn’t a great horror film but it certainly is effective in that it doesn’t try too hard to get you to jump in your seat.
For those of you who don’t know, a Ouija board is a spirit board used to communicate with the dead. You’re not supposed to ‘play’ it alone though, as one of the characters, Debbie (Shelly Hennig), finds out the hard way. Her best friend Laine (Olivia Cooke), Laine’s sister Sarah (Ana Coto) and the boyfriends (Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith) and ditsy friend Isabelle (Bianca Santos) soon realise that a Ouija board and a creepy house are the cause of Debbie’s apparent suicide.
Ouija sets up scenes with some misdirection, which is what makes it less predictable from all the other horror films that utilise similar scary little girls with long hair shrieking and doors creaking in the night. So in Ouija when a character is in front of the bathroom sink mirror cupboard and she opens it and then closes it you expect something will show up behind her. But it doesn’t. And then something happens. Quite effective.
As the group of friends plays they establish contact with what they think is Debbie’s spirit but boy are they wrong! And then in a somewhat Final Destination style they start dying (or getting killed). But Laine and her sister must find the answers to this mysterious house and its former occupants if they are to avoid the dreaded ‘Goodbye’!
Lin Shaye as the old surviving Zander sister who is a key to the puzzle does a particularly wonderful job of chilling you to the bone with her performance.
In spite of its poor rating on Rotten Tomatoes I’d say you should go watch this film for some good old fashioned cheap scares and a well-made film that doesn’t use the same, done-to-death gimmicks that we’re used to.
PS: Hasbro is a sponsor of the film since they make the Ouija board games for toy stores. A lot scarier than the mindless Decepticons in The Transformers films.