Breaking Down the Myths in the Movie Ouija – A Movie Review

690003-1020-aThe horror movie Ouija overrlooks some details as to how to communicate with the dead. This film is right to have its cast of troubled teenagers using the board to ask for a particular spirit to come forth but It’s funny that they never realize what they are holding is actually a séance. In those cases, everyone should have protected themselves by invoking a measure of protection, conducting an opening prayer and closing it properly. Also, once the planchette is touched, people are not allowed to take their fingers off for any reason. If they must, another finger has to take its place. By simply moving the pointing device to the word ‘goodbye’ is never enough. Something spoken only adds to the power of sealing the door so nothing lingers around. Thanking it at the end is an act of courtesy. People forget what’s summoned may have been once human.

These rules were not necessarily forgotten. The terror comes from the fact that nobody in this film ever properly learned how to use the Ouija board. In that regard, that’s where this movie succeeds; in what they awakened, only the dead can tell. If the folklore fs to be believed, then there’s a bit of a scare to be found. That’s what a team of producers hoped to create, and in what was delivered is nothing but pure Hollywood pap. This supposedly harmless game is said to bridge the gap between the human and spirit world. With Halloween night approaching, some people might be dragging out the board when they should not!

As for whether or not a spirit is reached, that depends on what a person believes. One argument as to how the Ouija board works is due to the ideomotor effect — where the subconscious mind is manipulating the results through involuntary muscle movements or psychokinetic energy.

Ever since this product’s introduction in the 1890’s by inventor Elijah J. Bond, it’s been embraced by people looking for a bit of hope. American housewife and wannabe musician Pearl Curran saw it as a divination tool and she helped bring forth a spiritualism revival during World War 1. With many souls lost during this conflict, many folks no doubt hoped to hear last words from those who died in the trenches.

In this film’s case, it an attempt by Laine (Olivia Cooke) to learn why her best-friend Debbie (Shelley Hennig) hanged herself. Apparently, one of the first rules of Ouija is to never play the game alone, something Debbie didn’t adhere to despite the leap in logic of her teaching Laine the rules.

The film drags spends too much time setting up the character drama. There might have been a good dramatic film that looked at loss and obsession by showing how all of Debbie’s friends — Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), Pete (Douglas Smith), Isabelle (Bianca A. Santos) and Sarah (Ana Coto) — took to the news of her death. However, most of that time is spent with showing that Laine is obsessing the most. They are BFFs after all, but the screenplay by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White never achieves the emotional level to make audiences feel for what’s going on. In what they failed to do is to make the last moments pay off. It felt too derivative. The placement of creepy dolls, haunted mirrors, gas ovens, secret passages and fireplaces did not contribute to the narrative.

Fortunately, there is a good pay off near the end but the plot holes that emerge are far too big to make what’s revealed satisfactory. Most of the best moments are in when Laine peeks through the scrying glass in the planchette to get a glimpse of what’s on the other side. In what she discovers and questions, the mystery is what carries this film. As for whether or not this movie will get burned, only box office numbers will tell if a sequel will get made. Hopefully a prequel will be considered instead since the seed is planted and what’s suggested seems good.

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