What I'm Watching: The Ouija Exorcism
Whoa-oh, we're halfway there...
Yep, the Ouija Experiment experiment continues with #3! Or as it's actually entitled, The Ouija Experiment. As you can see, they dropped the Experiment in the US, but kept it in other markets. Why? I dunno. Why they DROPPED it, is clear. This has NO relation to the other movies. Not found footage, not the same characters OR actors. This is entirely its own entity, so it makes sense to have its own name, and that's more than fair. But when someone says, "Hey, there's four of these movies! I'll take that as a challenge and watch the entire mess of a non franchise.
Which brings us to the third installment on this journey, so let's get to it.
This time around, the Ouija board enters the plot in the 80s, when it's brought as a present to a kid's birthday party. Hey kids! Celebrate your ninth birthday by summoning our dark lord Satan! YAY SATAN!
Of course, it takes awhile before we realise its a Ouija board, because this is lovingly filmed in dark-o-vision. Thanks a bunch!
So the kids dabble in the dark arts, and eventually the planchette starts moving on its own, as one does in these movies, and I swear. The way it looks, the way it moves...I am almost positive that the planchette is actually CGI in a few scenes. Which makes sense. They don't have to fiddle with magnets and a guy under the floor, just cut, paste, drag, and drop. But sadly, it LOOKS like drag and drop, the movement is so wrong.
After they summon evil, as one does in these movies, the spirit wreaks havoc on the birthday boy's family, killing them all through Joseph's hands, and it is only stopped when Joe's father, a rabbi, comes over and traps the spirit in the board. From there we jump ahead 30 years, and Joseph has no memories of the events of that fateful night.
I do wonder how the plot would play out if we started in the present, didn't know why Joey hated his father so much, what he did, what happened back then...I think it might make for an absolutely more interesting movie as we have a mystery to unravel, but it would have removed our only real supernatural elements for the first half of the movie.
Joe and his son find out the rabbi is sick and close to death, so Joseph reluctantly returns home, after his father gave him up for the foster care system 30 years ago, to protect him from the spirit that would forever hunger for the guy. Grandpa Rabbi dies, they go through the funeral, and Joe is reunited with the girl he was crushing on at the birthday party...and her boyfriend. After the funeral, the plot moves to become a cabin in the woods movie, but minus the cabin.
Oh, and there's also an attempted love connection between Joe's son and Bev's daughter, as history repeats itself. But let me tell yeah, Noah's pervy constant innuendo behaviour towards Chloe gets real old, real fast. He's one of those kids that has to turn every sentence into a dirty joke.
Noah finds the board so there can be a plot, and uses it. He does note that there are inscriptions on the back of the Ouija board in an obscure foreign language that they only manage to translate thanks to Google. And hey, it's the rules! Thanks for writing the rules to NOT SUMMON EVIL in a foreign language! That's helpful!
"People commonly use the board to contact the dead. Well, what's the worst that could happen?" What's the worst that could happen? A series of four movies, I'd say...
We travel to the mansion in the woods where Joe and Noah meet up with Chloe and Bev, her boyfriend Geoff, and oh, there's a yoga instructor thrown in for good measure, that Geoff is totally sleeping around with. Because if nothing else, the Ouija movies need a "Calvin".
As much as I think the movie might be more interesting if we didn't know about the events of the 80s until Joseph himself finds out, that truly is the only interesting thing to happen for nearly 50 minutes. The first half of the movie is just people sitting around and talking, as they summon spirits that don't do anything. The most interesting stuff going on is Joseph's confusion over what happened and what's happening, and Geoff banging Roni, because you just know that's gonna blow up in his face. This is a series of conversations and marital issues interspersed with an occasional spooky message.
This almost rivals Killjoy 2 for Nothing Happens. And when stuff does happen, it's my favourite trope of, nightmare!
The strongest part of this movie, at least compared to the others, are the production values. It's well made, well filmed, and actually looks like a real movie this time around! Yay!
Once the spirit hits the fan, everyone goes running to Roni, because she's into yoga and woowoo stuff, so of course she becomes our source of information about the new age stuff. And she is so hilariously over the top upset at the presence of a spirit board.
But don't worry, Noah makes sure to tell us, "It's okay, I followed all the rules!" You most emphatically did NOT! He literally has a line in the movie after reading the rules, "Well, one out of four!" That's not following the rules!
And more absurd dialogue; "What's that old saying? An eye for an eye? And a heart...for a heart." I...don't actually think that's how that goes.
...And with ten minutes left to go, I tap out. Nope. The instant your villain is given a child like but then goofily distorted through audio manipulation voice, I'm out. Not really, but just imagine you big bad spirit speaking with the adult version of baby talk. Nope, there goes all the suspense, pissed down the drain. It truly must be heard to be believed.
Joe finally finds out his father was trying to save him from the spirit, and they do the big confrontation series of scenes. They get out the usual salt circle and say, "As long as you stay in the circle, it can't get you!" Well apparently it can as it physically drags Noah out of the circle! And then they bother to fix the broken salt line, why?? You just saw it was pointless!
Joe goes after his son, the demon plays musical chairs with hosts, and eventually it comes down to the creature coming for Joe, in his son's body, and they come up with a plan. And since someone might actually want to watch this, I won't spoil it entirely, but it does touch upon my favourite themes of sacrifice. It actually works to bring everything full circle, and have Joe do things his father never could, while also at last reaching a level of understanding he never had before.
So far, this is easily the best of the three. Maybe not the most *entertaining* of the three, because that first half is slow as anything, but the story is there, it's a well put together flick, and the acting's not terrible. I really like Joe's character arc, and the performance really sells the range of emotions he's called upon to deliver.
It's still pretty basic though, and there's a lot here you might be able to find done better in other places. I ultimately came to like this one, and it was a thoroughly entertaining entry in the non series. There's a few nits to pick like pacing issues, again the board isn't REALLY necessary, but a stronger tie in than the last movie, and some moments of pure camp, like the return of our favourite Mummy Mouth. But it's a slightly above average affair.
I absolutely love the final sacrifice.