Horror Releases: Ouijageist (2019) - Reviewed

Let’s all shout it together, like we always do in a Ouija-based film:
“Are people really still this thick?”

Directed by John R. Walker, Ouijageist is about a single mother who moves into a flat with her baby and discovers a ‘witch board’ in her backyard. After she enjoys a round of ignorant idiocy with her best friend and the strangely unfamiliar Ouija board, uncanny things begin to happen. A slew of mysterious deaths follow, masquerading as accidents, of course.
More? No. No, that is pretty much it. 

Ouijageist is not big on prolific writing or originality, let alone twists. Sadly, it remains consistently dire until the end credits, unless you are a die-hard supporter of indie film and watch it in hope of some masochistic solidarity. 

Not only is the premise dreadfully unoriginal and more worn out than Hulk Hogan’s jock strap, but the pace of the film matches its pallid sense of direction. There is none. Ouijageist is lost in a slow burn hell of terrible dialogue, drowned out by constant, unnecessary thundering score made by a cat rolling over a Casio keyboard – or so it sounds.

After single mom India Harper (Lois Wilkinson) discovers the witch board in her back yard, she apparently has no idea what it is. Neither does her mother, played by Lesley Scoble. Unlikely, right? The film is plagued with inaccuracies and absurdities born from bad writing from no less than two writers! Writers Darrell Buxton and Steve Hardy don’t bother to present us with engaging or intriguing material, exacerbated by dreadful acting. 

Ouijageist calls itself horror, but the only horror in this film is the assumption that it could pass for the genre. A jovial priest referencing iconic horror films does not qualify. Apparently, adding blood to a scene seems adequate for the label, instead of yielding mounting tension or using dialogue to frighten the audience to the possibilities of the murmuring Ouija board. Even if this film is trying to be Evil Dead deliberate, I can’t see it succeeding.

This film’s characters are as interesting as beige cardboard and it makes you yearn for the hysterical over the top madness of 80s horror. At least those characters were engaging. But no, we are dragged along through a mess of bad execution. Even the attempts at jump scares have the efficacy of whiskey dick while stark lighting and lack of proper set design negates any hope of atmosphere, something imperative to a horror film.

I wanted to like Ouijageist, but it refused to put out, even if it could. There is simply no technical or creative punch in all of the run time, save for a few liters of blood and a steady camera. Most films substitute a solid story or scares with gratuitous gore, but Ouijageist even fails at that and gives the impression of ‘carefulness’, something that guarantees ruin in any horror film. There is no fire, no madness and definitely no terror. There is a difference between an indie film and an amateur film. Ouijageist illustrates the latter perfectly.

--Tasha Danzig