Director: John R. Walker
Country: United Kingdom
Alternate Titles: Ouija: The Beginning
Moving into a new house, a woman’s discovery of a strange ouija board buried in her backyard and begins playing with it with a friend, but when a series of strange accidents and incidents befall her and her friends she learns the board game has released a deadly spirit into her life and must find a way to stop it.
This was a pretty solid and enjoyable effort. Among the films’ better efforts is the fact that this one tends to introduce the malicious figure in their lives in a way that legitimately doesn’t feel like anything out of the ordinary is going on. The sense that these are true accidents and mishaps, from the supernatural bump on the best friend to push her down the stairs which looks for all the world like a genuine fall down, the incident target her infant son with the scalding hot water and the scene of the dog running away scared before being found in a disturbing state all provide a reasonable grounding for the supernatural antics to later spread from.
Those come into play at the film’s best when the supernatural attacks become less realistic and more likely something physically intervening. The encounter at the coffee shop involving an entire cup of scalding hot coffee and unnatural demonic shouting is the first clue something’s wrong, while the incidents with the repairman and the priest cement the idea that something is wrong. With the finale finally bringing some excitement involving possessed bodies and the full-force of the supernatural entities chasing her, this is fun and frantic enough to overcome some of the films’ flaws.
This one does have a few minor flaws. Among the biggest problems is the weird structuring of discovering the board in the backyard almost immediately but then forgetting about it to focus on outside activities. From the struggle to move in and get acclimated to the move, looking for work at the pet shop and dealing with the neighborhood kids for their actions, this one tends to take up tons of focus in the film on outside areas that are outside of the supernatural focus. With only the one sequence showing the game being played to ignite that possibility in the viewers it is entirely possible to forget that’s the case with this one.
The last flaw here is the general sluggish quality prominent here which takes a while for anything to happen. The tempo of everything is played out in the usual relaxed and laid-back manner of most British genre efforts where it takes everything in the same key without much variance at all so that incidents that should’ve resulted in more of a reaction is missed completely. As well, there’s a lack of explanations for anything here since it takes so long for anything to happen, resulting in the finale feeling like all these strange incidents are occurring suddenly with no build-up due to the weird pacing. These are what drag the film down somewhat.
While it’s got some issues and tends to feel somewhat lifeless at times, it’s got enough positives points to feel enjoyable and watchable enough for those that are entertained by these kinds of films. Those that like these kind of supernatural indie-themed efforts or just generally curious about this one won’t be put off too much, while those that are looking for something more than this type of film should heed caution with it.