31 Days Of Horror: OUIJA

For the next 31 days, we here at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing one horror flick a day leading up to Halloween. Each one will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, or flat-out awful. All endured in honor of the season. Expect SPOILERS. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s 31 DAYS OF HORROR.


PLOT: A group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board.

BODY COUNT: 7. Ghost Doris (Sierra Heuermann) strings Debbie (Shelley Hennig) up with Christmas lights, cracks Isabelle’s (Bianca Santos) skull open, obliterates Mother (Claudia Katz Minnick) with a vicious shriek, kills Pete (Douglas Smith) off-screen, and tangles Trevor (Darren Kagasoff) up in a pool cover. Laine (Olivia Cooke) destroys Ghost Doris by tossing her – Doris, not Laine - physical body into a furnace. Laine may or may not be dead following the obligatory “Is Doris really dead?” sequel set-up.

MOST MEMORABLE KILL: Gonna go with Isabelle’s demise for this category, if only for the fact Ghost Doris sews her mouth shut using dental floss before levitating her off the ground and tossing her head first into a bathroom sink. That’s pretty intense for a film that primarily exists to sell a board game.

NAKEDNESS: Nothing …but Olivia Cooke and Shelley Hennig do show off a teeny, tiny, tantalizing bit of CW-friendly, PG-13 cleavage.

SIGNATURE MOMENT: OUIJA is all about the Lin Shaye cameo. In the space of two scenes, Shaye, the star of the INSIDIOUS franchise, manages to not only steal the entire damn movie, but also set up the prequel OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL. Here’s hoping OUIJA 3 takes place after the events of this film and has her character breaking out of the asylum and menacing the unsuspecting populace.

IDIOT MOMENT: Despite knowing the rules of the Ouija board, Laine and Debbie break every last one. Each one of them, at different individual points, plays with the board alone, plays with it in a graveyard, and forgets to say “Good Bye”. Oh and both have a tendency to only bust out the board in old dark houses. F*ck central power. Let’s use the Ouija by the light of our cellphones and a couple of battery-powered camp lanterns! Three cheers for dummy horror heroines! Yay?

“WTF?!?” MOMENT: All of Debbie’s friends, especially Trevor, were a little too anxious to move on from her death. I mean, seriously, we’re talking next day. One day after their friend died under mysterious circumstances and all of them, save for Laine, were ready to forget about the whole thing. WTF.

USELESS KNOWLEDGE: The name is actually pronounced 'wee-ja', contrary to the popular 'wee-gee'. Charles Kennard, founder of the company manufacturing the boards, claimed he learned the name "Ouija" from asking the board what it wanted to be called.

> Far from being ancient, the Ouija Board was patented on May 28, 1890.

> According to costume designer Mary Jane Fort, the cast and crew would often take breaks between shooting and use the Ouija board to jokingly predict the box office opening weekend numbers.

> Though there are many other horror movies about Ouija boards - some with the same title - this film is not officially a remake of any of them and tells its own story revolving around the titular game.

> The first trailer for the film was attached to the theatrical release of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS containing alternate footage. A new trailer was released in the summer containing new scenes. In an interview, Olivia Cooke stated that about 50% of the film was reshot due to a negative reaction from test audiences, as a result Universal ordered a week's worth of re-shoots during the summer 4 months before it's theatrical release which drastically altered the original plot. The original cut contained a different assortment of footage including an alternate death scene for Debbie where she instead falls to her death instead of hanging herself (which is why the chandelier is swinging when Pete sees it because she struck it while falling) along with the most advertised scene where Sarah's eyes roll back and she says "it's not even real okay? It's just a game". Nona was also supposed to have a more prominent role in the film as it implied she becomes possessed in the promotional material.

> When re-shoots went underway, in the process of drastically changing Doris Zander's backstory, two new characters were created including her sister and mother. Lin Shaye, who plays Paulina Zander, was not in the original version of the film and was cast for the re-shot footage.

> Erin Moriarty was cast in the film in an undisclosed role though she does not appear in the finished project. Her scenes were deleted when the film was reshot.

> In the original unaltered version of the film, Doris Zander had a much different look to her. In the original cut she took the appearance of a young girl with half of her face burnt while always carrying a doll. The re-shoots version is a rotting girl with sewn lips.

> The USELESS KNOWLEDGE portion of this review was provided by IMDB.

Posted by J. Bryant

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