The call to the other side is a connection that people have claimed to make for hundreds of years. Though they’ve never been scientifically proven, they have made something of an impact as there have been reports of people becoming ill and houses that have become mysterious entities. Reports of chairs being stacked and voices coming through electronic devices are among evidence of such bizarre happenings. My childhood friends and I were on opposing teams. Some of us believed in it. Some thought what we heard was nothing but coincidental. Like religion and god, it simply comes down to a matter of faith.
Going back to the instruments used in paranormal investigation, the easiest thing people turn to is the Ouija board. Who can blame them as the board can be picked up at any nearby toy store and doesn’t require some strange fuel like crystals that one might see at a new age place. All it took was the board, a piece of wood (or plastic these days) and courage to try and talk to the dead. This is something that I never dwelled in and is not nostalgic, but it remains as a nostalgic piece of slumber party memories for most children. Ouija is now the latest of the board games to become movies.
Two girls, Debbie (played by Shelley Hennig) and Laine (played by Olivia Cooke) are simply two of the closest high school friends around. They do typical teenager stuff until Debbie starts to hear strange bumps around the house after using an old Ouija board. She’s found hung and the police mark this as a suicide, despite never showing any idea of suicidal thoughts. Laine remains grief stricken over her loss and is given the task to house watch while her friends folks are out of town to get away from their loss.
Laine along with her friend Trevor (played by Daren Kagasoff) discover the Ouija board that was being used along with some footage from Debbie showing her troubles starting when she played (it’s never explained why she did so in the first place which is already confusing). Laine brings her friends back to Debbie’s house where by using the board (there’s never any other consideration into other objects into contacting spirits), they will try and communicate with their recently deceased. The board seems to work as the teens do feel a presence, but when the thing seems demonic, they think they may have awakened the wrong soul.
In my review of Battleship years before, I claimed that Clue remains the best board game adaptation. I still stand by that because Ouija doesn’t add much to the reason why we need movies. Presenting a movie out of the spirit board certainly has potential as it has a hundred year history of being used by real paranormal folks. I’m guessing neither of the two writers wanted to bother with that as it was simply easier to do a haunted house story.
I have no problem with a haunted house story, but Ouija feels like a movie that was written by the book; that they simply thought of the typical ghost story tropes and then worked in the Ouija board. As far as I’m concerned, the board could have been a painting or a plastic cup and the story would have remained the same. The story itself is not even close to original. Dumb teenagers? Check. Never leaving the haunted place? Check. A false climax further extending the story? Checkmate! What perplexes me is that producer Michael Bay only seems interested in churning out horror movies that may have people coming, but never returning to.
I’ll give this one Ouija board out of five. Ouija is something that might be seen as an example of following the book on how to get a script out fast without effort. As far as going back to Ouija, the signs point to no. Let’s play Clue next time!