I almost didn’t see Ouija. I got scared before I even got into the theater. Not because of the movie, because this retreaded piece of shit’s about as spooky as the orange and black cupcakes at the community center before I rubbed my boogers all over them. Yeah, that’s right, Mrs. Crandall. Next time think twice before telling me I can’t have one because they’re for the old people in the water aerobics class. Also think twice about leaving me alone in the room with cupcakes.
No, I was too scared to enter the theater because of who was already there. It wasn’t those mean seventh graders who teased me for wetting myself, even after I explained why. Neither was it my mother, who also makes fun of me for wetting myself. It was worse. It was teenagers. Specifically, teenaged girls, hordes of them packed into the hallway like ants swarming a beetle carcass, screeching like excited juvenile crows.
In the moment I walked into that tar pit of amorphous estrogen, my heart literally stopped, my breath caught and a million failures from my own past washed over me. I realized, however, that I am more afraid of teenaged girls now than I was as a teenaged boy. And I was so afraid of them back then that my entire existence oscillated between hiding from them and daring to present myself with only the dimmest hopes of seeing a boob.
Back then, my fear was based on their ability to send my self-worth tailspinning into the ground. I was afraid that they’d rather go to prom with a guy who had a car, or cruise Wadsworth on Friday night with a guy who had a car, or sit next to someone in biology class who talked about things other than how he didn’t have a car. I was afraid they’d find out I was hiding in their bushes at night.
Now, my fear is much deeper and more profound. I am afraid because these giggling morons, these witless, shapeless blobs of acne and worthless thoughts expressed in squeals and shouts, have more power than me. I am afraid because the world is more interested in catering to the whims of people who buy Taylor Swift records and romance novels about mopey vampires than they are about the desires of a thoughtful, compassionate full-grown man who likes cheap beer and cough syrup. A lot. Teen dollars are more plentiful and easier to get. Teen minds (and arteries) are less hardened, and more easily manipulated.
I am afraid to live in a world dictated by the tastes of teenaged girls because that means more shit like Ouija, a movie based on a Hasbro toy. Hell, a character even reminds movie audiences, “You can buy it in toy stores.” This movie feels like a product of the CW, starring unremarkable and not-quite-good actors in their twenties playing pouty teens. It is generic, uninspired and exploitative.
All you really need to know is that Ouija is a PG-13 horror movie. Or rather, a PG-13 horrible movie. Its plot, its scares and its characters are as trite as the typical teenaged girl’s tweets. The thing is, teenaged girls fucking love teenaged girl tweets.
An uninteresting girl finds a Ouija board in her house, plays with it and dies. Her uninteresting and stupid best friend wants to know why she died. To her, the logical way to do this would be to get her equally uninteresting and stupid friends to also play with the Hasbro toy (which you can buy in toy stores). Fuck mourning. Fuck leaving a tragic event alone. Let’s get right back in the death house and screw around in the dark. But, oh no! Their dabbling in the occult unleashes a demon. Yet they keep playing. There’s a visit to a crazy person in a spooky old “psychiatric ward” behind wrought iron fences. There are creaks in the attic and doors that open and close on their own. There is a gradual matriculation of the teens into the graveyard, which is much easier for jackasses like these to get into than college. Finally, after a few deaths, the remaining uninteresting and stupid teens destroy the ghouls by following the advice of their Latino maid. This woman gets a total of about one minute of screentime. But, she’s old, Mexican and does these kids’ laundry, so of course she must be all-knowing about the occult.
In a little bit of teen wish fulfillment, the parents in Ouija pull a "Peanuts" and disappear for the duration. Moms and dads are only seen leaving for trips. Hell, the mother of the girl who died takes off on vacation right after the wake. This leaves the kids with huge houses to themselves. In reality, if kids this stupid were left alone, they’d be found dead on the kitchen floor, surrounded by unopened cans of Raviolis and a scorched pan of water on the stove. The only clue authorities would find is a final text message to friends on their phones: HW DO U OPN A CAN? :)
Ouija is a starter horror movie, designed for the suburban teen girl who has spent her entire life afraid to go downtown at night. It introduces these little cash-burners to the idea of scary without actually being so. I’d say its chills are throttled by the PG-13 rating, but real scares take cleverness and this movie has none. There are ghostly images in mirrors, bumps and thumps, and plenty of stabbing violins to tell you to jump when someone pops around a corner. There’s an attic full of old shit, and a basement with hidden rooms. It’s like the moviemakers worked off a checklist of shit we’d all seen plenty of times before. Well, all of us who aren’t stupid teenaged girls.
Ouija is witless. None of the bad shit would happen if people just acted like normal humans and stopped fucking around. It’s really hard to feel bad for characters who screw themselves. It’s even harder to feel bad when they are as poorly developed and bland as these fuckers. Here are teens whose friends are dying all around them and they don’t even stop to feel bad, to have hobbies, backstories or personalities. They don’t tell their school counselors they are so distraught they can’t take their algebra test. They just keep plugging on. Maybe the only notable thing about any of these kids is that one girl looks like two big-ass caterpillars crawled up on her forehead.
Ouija is just awful, shitty and stupid movie making. But that is the future, as dictated by the teenaged girls in control. And I’m so fucking scared. One Finger for the rest of my life.