Student reviews “Ouija”

It is October, so of course, Hollywood finds it necessary to churn out horror movies to coincide with Halloween. “Ouija” is one of these films, although it is as bereft of horror as it is quality writing.

Since this film is a PG-13 “horror” movie, I had low expectations going in. “Ouija” managed to go below them.

The film features jump scares, a barely watchable plot and more horror cliché’s than necessary.

The film starts off with a background of the two main characters Debbie and Laine’s lifelong friendship. When one of them dies after using a Ouija board the other feels obligated to find out what happens. The protagonist uses the board to contact the dead friend. This leads to a series of deaths and paranoia, and the revelation that what lies beyond our world is not to be toyed with.

Supernatural horror films have become increasingly popular over the past few years. What these films lack is substance, and “Ouija” is no exception. Those of us who were raised on character-based horror, like “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Nightmare On Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th” are accustomed to horror fed from the writing rather than horror fed from jump scares and cheap film tricks.

That being said the paranormal franchises mentioned above are far superior to Ouija both in talent and writing.

“Ouija” does have some things going for it though. The acting is good to an extent. Olivia Cooke and Ana Coto do as good a job as can be done with what they had for a script as well as an impressive cameo by Insidious star Lin Shaye as a patient in a home for the mentally insane. As usual Shaye’s is so believable you are pulled into the scenes. Coto’s line delivery and chemistry with Cooke add much needed character development to this film, as does Shaye’s presence and superb acting. However Trevor, played by Daren Kagasoff can be likened to the lead role in an After School Special, underacting in scenes requiring depth and overacting in scenes requiring none are ultimately his downfall.

Overall I would give this film three out of 10 stars due to the acting talents of Cooke, Coto, and Shaye. If you are looking for a horror film for Halloween my humble advice to you is stay home and watch the original Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, or Henry: