Ouija movie
Stiles White


Following the sudden death of her best friend, Debbie, Laine finds an antique Ouija board in Debbie's room and tries to use it to say goodbye. Instead, she makes contact with a spirit that calls itself DZ. As strange events begin to occur, Laine enlists others to help her determine DZ's identity and what it wants. As the friends delve deeper, they find that Debbie's mysterious death was not unique, and that they will suffer the same fate unless they learn how to close the portal they've opened


As kids, best friends Debbie and Laine used to play with Laine's Ouija board. It was merely a creepy little diversion since neither of them really believed the game was connecting them to "other side." So it was just the eerie idea that some ghostly figure had its invisible hand on the planchette with theirs—moving the plastic pointer from letter to letter on the board—that kept them going at it, giggling all the while. 

The rules they played by? (Laine had picked them up somewhere and said they should never be broken.) You never played alone. You never played in a graveyard. You always said goodbye at the end of each session. And you began with these words: "As friends we've gathered, hearts are true. Spirits near, we call to you."

It was all just fun and, well, games, right? They figured, why would calling out to dead spirits be a problem?

A few years later, Debbie was cleaning out her dusty old attic when she stumbled upon a very old Ouija board and some other creepy remnants. This hand-painted board had a planchette carved out of wood. And the pieces were so antique-looking and cool that Debbie just had to dust them off and give them a try. She even decided to record herself using the board while sitting in her bedroom. Alone. 

Here we have yet another woeful byproduct of that much ballyhooed partnership between Hasbro and Universal Pictures. Because this is far from family board game fun at the Cineplex.

Rather, this movie feels like it was the result of a gaggle of writers—assigned a title and a deadline—just haphazardly jotting down every tired ghost story trope they could think of. From the creepy doll in the attic to the hidden torture room in the basement to the found footage of a teen dabbling with evil to the crazy kids who keep coming back for more ... well, the tale stretches logic and any sort of sense to the snapping point on numerous occasions.

It's a serious subject, though, the use of a Ouija board. And at least this cinematic jump scene smorgasbord—with its creepy collection of nasty teen murders and twisted spirituality—curiously informs us that communing with the dead will, um, get you dead. That it's not appealing in any way. And that you should run far, far away if any of your friends think it's a cool idea. Take that at face value, and Scripture gives the sentiment two thumbs up, so we certainly will too. 

Still, "It might pique their interest, especially if it's something they haven't played or thought about in a long time," says Jesse Cruz, manager of the Puzzle Zoo toy store in Los Angeles. "There's always some curiosity that comes with these things." And, indeed, it's the idea of playing with fire, getting "in touch" with something dangerous that compels many teens to play around with Ouija boards. So is it misbegotten and odd or accidentally clever, then, that this Hasbro-approved movie delivers the dictum: BURN ALL OUIJA BOARDS!


La Reliquia - a movie by Paolo Martini

La Reliquia


Disturbing Rosemary's Baby in southern sauce, "La reliquia" (seen online at the Fantafestival in Rome) is a successful insight into the practices and rituals of southern Italy. The theme is the atmosphere is very interesting and original, but the narrative suffers from the short duration. The cast of actors is exceptional, mostly comedians, but perfectly in part in histrionic (Paolantoni) or slimy (Rizzo) roles. The beautiful and evocative photography creates a dark atmosphere. Effective direction. Note of merit: the use of the lunar music by Egisto Macchi, author of... Read More

Gretel & Hansel Review

Gretel & Hansel


Anyone familiar with the original versions of classic fairy tales like “Hansel and Gretel” already knows that they have lots of horror movie potential. As a rule though, most attempts to capture these tales on film tend to miss the mark. It’s clear from the conspicuous reversal of the titular names that Gretel & Hansel hopes to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack right from the get-go, but does it actually do the job, or are you better off spending 90 minutes of your time on some other film? Gretel & Hansel is the brainchild of writer/director Oz... Read More

Ritual Review



A married couple with a complicated relationship, a corpse, and a room at a less than reputable motel. It’s a classic formula for a horror movie that’s no doubt familiar for many genre fans. It’s also the set-up for Mickey Keating’s 2013 film, Ritual. Ritual is the 14th original film distributed by After Dark Originals. It stars Dean Cates (Pod) and Lisa Summerscales as married couple, Tom and Lovely. Additional costars include Derek Phillips (Serum), Brian Lally, and Katherine Skelton. Ritual opens with a warning title card, promising plenty of violence to come. It... Read More

Dead Awake review

Dead Awake


Whether you’ve personally experienced it or simply heard your share of other people’s horror stories over the years, it doesn’t get much scarier than sleep paralysis. Director Phillip Guzman (Sleep No More) makes this all too relatable real life phenomenon the center of his 2016 indie horror film Dead Awake. The film stars indie horror favorite Jocelin Donahue (House of the Devil, All the Creatures Were Stirring) in the lead, as well as Jesse Bradford (Cherry Falls), Brea Grant (Dead Night), Lori Petty (Bates Motel), and others in supporting roles. The... Read More

The Noonday Witch review

The Noonday Witch


When you think of the most chilling horror tales of all time, there are a lot of staples that come immediately to mind when it comes to possible settings – like dank asylums, haunted houses, isolated forests, or just about anywhere that feels a little creepier and more sinister under cover of darkness. You don’t probably think of sun-drenched corn fields or bright summer days in the countryside, but The Noonday Witch may just change your mind about that. The Noonday Witch is a 2016 Czech language film brought to the screen by promising Czech director, Jiri Sadek. (In... Read More