Ouija, film review: Slick but utterly formulaic Halloween movie offers an array of shock tactics

(15) Stiles White, 90 mins Starring: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca A Santos, Douglas Smith
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The Independent Culture

Stiles White's slickly made horror pic Ouija is already a box-office hit in the US. Teenagers looking for a Halloween movie with plenty of thrills and goosebumps moments will probably be satisfied with its array of shock tactics.

That doesn't hide the utterly formulaic nature of the film-making. Like the doll in the recently released and very similar Annabelle, the Ouija board is simply a device to set the plot in motion.

Debbie (Shelley Hennig) is first to discover, and become possessed, by this plank of wood. Cue unexplained suicides, rolling eyeballs, kids with their mouths sewn shut and lots of screeching.

The film soon morphs into a haunted-house mystery as we discover more about the very strange family who lived there years before, and whose spirits seem to be lurking in the basement (where else?).

On the level of a fairground ride, the film delivers but when it comes to such matters as emotion, character development and suspense, it's a bust. That's hardly a surprise, given that the producer is Michael Bay, of Transformers infamy.

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