Lat­est teen hor­ror flick will leave you bored

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Roger Moore

OUIJA is a dead-teenager movie aimed squarely at a teen au­di­ence. Univer­sal’s ef­fort to re­claim its place as the Home for Hor­ror takes a step back­ward with this duller-than-dull 89 min­utes of your life you’ll never get back. Frankly, the board game is scarier, but only if you break the rules. “Never play alone... never play in a grave­yard... al­ways say ‘goodbye...’” As kids, Deb­bie (Shel­ley Hen­nig) and Laine (Olivia Cooke) knew that, but as a teen, Deb­bie’s picked up a board, toyed with the mag­i­cal “un­seen hand” planchette, with its eye hole for spy­ing ghosts. Next thing you know, she’s hanged her­self. Laine is be­side her­self. Well, not ex­actly. Cooke, the star of this cast of pretty bland young things, rarely sug­gests much emo­tion at all. And the oth­ers take their lead from her. Be­cause of course there are oth­ers. Laine wants some clo­sure, so she picks up Deb­bie’s board, rounds up her boyfriend (Daren Ka­ga­soff), her Goth-brat sis­ter (Ana Coto), the dead girl’s beau (Dou­glas Smith) and the ex­otic Is­abelle (Bianca A. San­tos) for a lit­tle seance. When they chant, “As friends we gather, hearts are true, spir­its near, we call to you,” and doors creak open and chairs slide away from the ta­ble, kids be­ing kids, they don’t take the hint. Laine’s house­keeper, Nona (Vivis Colom­betti) adds a warn­ing: “Do not go seek­ing an­swers from the dead.” Death and ter­ror en­sue. Three hor­ror movies (she was in The Sig­nal and The Quiet Ones) and one hor­ror TV se­ries ( Bates Mo­tel) into her ca­reer, and poor Ms. Cooke still doesn’t show any sign she has what it takes to be­come a Scream Queen. She treats the su­per­nat­u­ral go­ings on, the shock of see­ing friends die and the lack of adults aware of what the kids are go­ing through with lit­tle more than a pert lit­tle shrug. No­body else makes much of an im­pres­sion, even hor­ror vet and stu­dio chief sib­ling Lin Shaye ( 2001 Ma­ni­acs). The ef­fects are gen­er­ally as sim­ple as the far su­pe­rior ghost story Annabelle, which looks like Psy­cho when com­pared to Ouija, a cyn­i­cal at­tempt to spend almost no money and cash in on board game sales. But se­ri­ously, who’d buy that game after this? And after Ouija and Drac­ula Un­told, who will buy Univer­sal as a se­ri­ous home for hor­ror? Tod Brown­ing and Bela Lu­gosi are rolling in their graves.

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