Platinum Dunes. If you don’t recognise the name, you will definitely be familiar with their work. The production company, which has Michael Bay as one of its founders, has been the leading force behind horror films such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” reboot, “The Unborn” and “The Nightmare on Elm Street” remake. For their latest horror outing, Platinum Dunes has teamed up with Hasbro for “Ouija”.
The plot follows Elaine Morris (Olivia Cooke), whose best friend Debbie (Shelley Hennig) is mysteriously killed after recording herself playing with an ancient spirit board, known as a Ouija.
Elaine enlists the help of her boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), her sister Sarah (Ana Cato), her friend Isabelle (Bianca A. Santos) and Debbie’s boyfriend Pete (Douglas Smith) to investigate the board, though they soon discover that some things are not meant to be played with.
In terms of horror, Ouija certainly has its edge-of-the-seat moments. The film excellently builds tension and suspense through a combination of an eerie atmosphere, creepy setting and well implemented cinematography, before discomforting viewers with jump scares. These are commonplace throughout, largely down to the film’s consistent and quick pacing.
The young cast make the most of a fairly poor script to give convincing performances, especially Olivia Cooke (best known for her role in “Bates Motel”) who is brilliant in the lead role. Regular viewers of the genre will also be pleasantly surprised by the appearance of Lin Shaye, who is notorious for portraying Elise Rainier in the “Insidious” series.
However, on the surface, Ouija is your typical horror film, brimmed with the usual clichés. There’s a haunted house, a possessed object, stereotypical spirits, the character that doubts any supernatural goings-on… the list continues. With a bit more originality, this is a film that could have stood out among the crowded horror genre.