"As friends we've gathered, our hearts are true, spirits near we call to you."
2014 has been quite an impressive year for horror. First there was the impressive Oculus, that didn’t let its low budget hold it back from achieving great scares. Then there’s The Babadook, whose execution and application of its scares is nothing short of masterful. Now we have Ouija, which nearly destroys everything that they and other films have built in this genre.
After one of their friends meets a sudden and unexpected end, a group of teenagers decide to try and talk to her one last time through the mysterious Ouija board. But they soon discover that this game may be all too real.
Okay, if you want to get a better idea of what this film is like take every horror cliché you can imagine and put them together. Then remove any clichés that might be even mildly interesting and fill them with usual generic high school clichés, remembering to avoid any interesting material there as well. Then you have Ouija.
For a start horror movies are elevated if you have good likable characters. But here you get what you expect to get, there’s dumb generic teenagers. One of them is pessimistic, another is superstitious, another is paranoid, another is overly confident… you get the idea. Naturally when these opposing characters come together they naturally confer in an amusing and entertaining manner. Sorry, did I say ‘amusing and entertaining’, I meant pretentious and unnatural. That’s better. We do not care about any of them; all that you can hope for in this film is that they all die spectacularly because they are so annoying.
It’s one thing to make a horror film this generic, but Ouija is just so boring. I mean really, really f*****g BORING! A spectacular death would be something, anything would be something, something has to happen. But it never does. It builds and builds and builds, unsuccessfully, before delivering in a way that fails to make neither any sense nor any entertainment merit. It tries so hard to build tension but it fails so miserably that it’s almost laughable, except it isn’t because the film thinks of itself as the kind of horror films that uses subtlety to scare. That works if you build enough tension but as I said before this doesn’t, it just looks stupid and lazy as a result.
Even if they had managed to build some tension the effects of this film are so appalling it takes away any fear that Ouija may have generated by chance. The small budget really shows, but as we’ve seen it doesn’t have to be that way, look at Oculus. For god’s sake, the excellent Moon had the same budget as this film.
Speaking of Moon, a great psychological sci-fi thriller, Ouija fails to reach the audience not only on a physical but a psychological level as well. It has no tension and does not appeal to any common fear. Despite not even reaching the 90 minute mark this film feels much longer. It just appears to go on forever, you want it to end quickly, (spoiler) and annoyingly that is exactly what happens for the teenagers. No satisfying or scary death, just a quick and boring one.
Michael Bay produced this as well. That’s the only conclusion I can give.