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HALLOWEEN HORROR REVIEW OF OUIJA

year: 2014 rating: **
PG-13 horror can be lackluster for two reasons: Adult audiences yearning to be scared silly have to put up with an intentionally watered-down theatrical experience, and younger folk anticipating a truly frightening world are stuck with a limited vehicle tailormade for their own protection...

Which doesn’t mean youngsters don't deserve a genuinely spooky flick… But not being legally allowed to see something in theaters usually makes it more mysterious, and ultimately worthwhile.

OUIJA involves the iconic and infamous board game. Gently moving a wooden or plastic device (called a planchette) around a board with letters, numbers, a YES, NO, HELLO and GOODBYE, you spell out words after asking questions to... the deceased, usually. Then something otherworldly helps guide the device, held on by fingers of each member of the group. Well that’s the idea. 

THE EXORCIST has a memorable Ouija cameo: Linda Blair’s subtle manipulation is the first indication she’s not your typical child. And here we begin with two girls around her age taking the game seriously… too seriously. After the death of one of the players, now a teen, a collection of high school friends, led by Olivia Cooke’s vulnerable ingenue Laine Morris, returns to the house... where curiosity gets the best of them. In fact the investigative nature turns OUIJA into a paranormal version of an Afterschool Special combined with FINAL DESTINATION: Once the game gets started, certain players are disqualified – permanently!

While there are a few decent jolts and nightmarish imagery, a plodding search to jigsaw past events ruins the potential. Then again, the acting is so dull amidst a barrage of distracting computer effects, there’s nowhere else to go but backwards. Perhaps LIGHT AS A FEATHER would have been a better choice. Maybe next time.
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