Discovering a link from this world to a more sinister realm of dwelling, lost souls and dealing with the quintessential terror that accompanies being haunted seems to be the premise for too many horror movies. The most recent installment of this type of horror movie, “Ouija,” uses this premise to terrorize five young adults who attempt to use a Ouija board to open a connection to the undead to communicate with a friend that has mysteriously passed away. During the process, the group discovers that what had disguised itself as their late friend turned out to be an evil spirit bent on killing everyone involved in the Ouija-ing; thus the cliché continues.
I don’t know what is most frightening about this movie: the plot itself, strung together with loose-ends built upon the trite decisions of each character, or the acting. In one sequence involving the main character, Laine (Oliva Cooke) during a rummaging-of-the-attic-for-clues scene, we know all too well that her faint source of light (and the only subsequent beacon of security for the suspended audience) would flicker on-and-off as she aptly continues to ignore tell-tale signs of her impending doom. Still, what should be the epic horror-inducing climaxes of these suspenseful scenes are more like an epic fizzle; much like blowing air into a balloon until it reaches a watermelon size, expecting the balloon to very audibly burst, but instead just deflates in that flatulence-sounding magnitude.
Putting aside some of the over-used plot elements embedded in the film, “Ouija” occasionally catches me off-guard causing popcorn-flinging fits of fear. This happens only scarcely, and makes the countless anti-climactic scenes all the more disappointing by comparison. These sudden-jump tricks, in all intents and purposes, lack any sort of creative planning, rendering them cheap to say the least; it’s not very impressive as anything that audibly jumps out of nowhere is likely to scare you. Overall, this movie lacks originality, using the same old cheap scare tactics seen in countless other films.
The movie ends with the epitome of overused endings, solidifying the bitter taste in my mouth. It is quite clear that the ambiguity seen at the ending that is also thriving throughout the rest of the plot is enough to make anyone feeling apathetic towards any of the cast; I found myself rooting for the awoken evil spirits more often than the survival of the group. Ultimately this film will quickly fade into the horror archives, maybe making an appearance in the plethora of horror flicks on Netflix.