Board of it all

SFX - - Cinema - James White

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

15 | 89 min­utes Di­rec­tor: Stiles White Cast: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Ka­ga­soff, Bianca A San­tos, Dou­glas Smith

Stupid de­ci­sions are

fun­da­men­tally common to char­ac­ters in hor­ror movies, but the ex­treme level of wrong­headed decision- mak­ing on dis­play in Ouija will have you slap­ping your fore­head so hard you’ll want to have ice ready to ap­ply af­ter­wards.

It’s a true bar­gain bin as­sort­ment of spare parts from other, bet­ter scary movies. Ouija takes a ba­sic plot – a young woman mys­te­ri­ously com­mits sui­cide after us­ing one of the tit­u­lar boards; her friends then at­tempt to com­mu­ni­cate with her spirit through it and pre­dictably un­leash ter­ror – and bulks it out with char­ac­ters that feel about as well sketched as those in a poorly- funded Pub­lic Ser­vice An­nounce­ment short about grief. On top of that, it’s con­tent to set­tle for lazy jump jolts and a score that sounds like the team recorded trucks go­ing past the stu­dio in an at­tempt to gen­er­ate at least a lit­tle bit of ten­sion.

The cast shuf­fle through the mo­tions, which in this case turn out to be pos­ses­sion- tinged at­tempts to blend a par­lour game that’s kept kids and teens afraid and amused for years with a less suc­cess­ful, less fo­cused ver­sion of the Fi­nal Des­ti­na­tion movies.

Ouija is Has­bro’s shot at sum­mon­ing a hor­ror fran­chise big enough to match its hugely suc­cess­ful Trans­form­ers films: if you gath­ered round and con­sulted one of the boards to ask the de­parted if you should watch this, the planchette would move to “No” so force­fully you’d see the mark left in the sur­face.

Ouija was canned by Univer­sal in 2011 for bud­get rea­sons, but re- emerged last year after a rewrite. We’re not sure it helped.

She hadn’t quite got the hang of it.

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