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Review: Ouija

In the continuing procession of formulaic, soft, mainstream so-called horror films comes Ouija, a product of the ever-efficient Blumhouse Productions that hits every familiar note so as to carry on its mediocre way.

There is nothing the least bit remarkable about this PG-13 offering based on the paranormal board game. It follows a group of teens who force themselves to play in order to connect with their deceased friend who committed suicide, albeit under strange circumstances.

The most original aspect of the film may be that it’s based on a board game, because every scare, every horror convenience is employed in what is a barely serviceable, utterly forgettable feature.

Something attacked and killed poor Debbie (Shelley Hennig), and now her best friend Laine (Olivia Cooke), along with a cadre of skeptics are investigating. Naturally, Debbie’s house is empty because her family doesn’t want to stay after her suicide, and of course Laine’s lone parent is away on business.

Someone or something communicates with them through the board, and clearly there is a presence in this house that has unsolved business, as is always the case. Like every other horror movie apparition, the one here likes to open creaky doors, turn on stove tops, and flicker the lights.

Along the way, however, the curious kids are aided by conveniently accessible old newspaper clippings and the token old female minority mystic character. It’s laughable when Laine’s Nonna randomly offers advice on combating the paranormal, as if after sending them off on this dangerous quest she heads to kitchen to prepare sauce.

But Ouija isn’t at all bad; it’s just the same as everything else. The ending is entertaining and equipped with a slight twist, and the young actors are worth investing in. Ouija could easily produce sequels, it will appeal to a wide audience, and it offers a bunch of jump scares; it just doesn’t offer anything at all substantial or inspired.

[star v=2]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.