OUIJA. 2014. DIRECTED BY STILES WHITE. STARRING OLIVIA COOKE, SHELLEY DENNIG, ANA COTO, LIN SHAYE, DAREN KAGASOFF, DOUGLAS SMITH, BIANCA A. SANTOS AND VIVIS COLOMBETTI. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I enjoyed this horror film well enough, despite the fact that it’s chock-full of plot-holes. Seriously, it has more plot-holes in it than actual plot, which is disappointing because the subject of ouija boards is a fascinating one and it could have made for a really good movie. Sadly, it didn’t in this case but hey, whaddya gonna do…?
The plot, ‘holey’ and all as it is, is as follows. Olivia Cooke (I’ve literally only just seen her starring in new release ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL) plays Laine, an American girl whose pretty blonde friend Deborah suddenly ups and hangs herself from the landing in her house with a string of fairy lights. Aw, so Christmassy…!
A devastated Laine gets the mad idea to try to contact Debbie with the ouija board she’d been mucking around with before she died. Soon Laine, her younger sister Sharon, her friend Isabella, her boyfriend Trevor and Debbie’s boyfriend Pete are all gathered around the table in Debbie’s empty, darkened house. It’s quite the little gathering, although no-one remembers to bring booze, ha-ha.
The ouija board starts responding immediately to the gang’s efforts to commune with the spirit world. Except it’s not Debbie they’re chatting away to so casually and carefree. It’s a dead girl called Doris, who was murdered by her mum in the ‘Fifties. Nice, huh?
Doris, whom they can see through the planchette (the looking-glass in the thing you move around the ouija board), has her lips all sewn up. She warns them through the ouija board that her evil dead mother is coming and they’d better all skedaddle.
They do, although they’re so stupid that they return to the House Of Horrors practically a million times throughout the rest of the film, and nearly always in the dark. They explore the haunted attic where the dead girl apparently hangs out, and they even go down to the super-haunted basement which contains a haunted crawlspace leading to a haunted secret room where the dead mother conducted her séances. I presume that they were haunted too, haha. Extra-haunted, in fact.
Oh yeah, she’d been a medium when she was alive. A medium who used her daughter Doris as a conduit for the spirits. Which means, of course, that the spirits talked through Doris. When the constant jibber-jabbering of the ghostly voices inevitably drives Mom doo-lally, she sews up Doris’s lips to silence them and somehow poor old Doris ends up dead in the secret room beyond the basement.
Lainey goes down into the secret room to find the dead girl and unsew her lips so that she can somehow save them all from Mumsie, who’s been cutting a deadly swathe through the bunch of feckin’ eejits who woke her up in the first place, ie, the ouija board kids. But when the killings keep happening, Lainey is forced to face the fact that maybe Mommie Dearest wasn’t the culprit after all…
The dark house is nice and atmospheric and the basement is well creepy, especially the creepy-crawly space connecting the basement to the secret room of death and horror, etc. The acting is kind of hammy in places and there are plot-holes galore as I’ve already mentioned, but there are probably too many to go into here. You’ll see ’em for yourself when you watch the film, if you haven’t done so already.
I will say one thing, though. It should not be that easy for someone to gain access to a secure facility for the criminally insane and visit one of the inmates under false pretences, especially when they’re not related to the inmate and the inmate doesn’t know them from a hole in the ground! I’m sorry, but it shouldn’t. It’s just wrong! There, I’ve said it. Do I feel better now? Yes, slightly. And thank you for asking.
Would I watch OUIJA again? Probably not, but I would like to see a good remake, or a whole new different film about ouija boards that actually fully and properly exploits the subject’s potential. Nothing on earth would induce me to use one of the accursed things for realsies, though. Watching a film about them is the closest I ever hope to get. Some things man (and woman!) is just not meant to f**k with. And if it takes a dead chick from the ‘Fifties with sewn-up lips to tell you that, then it’s probably already too late…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY