Ouija is an exercise in foolishness

Movie
by Bob Brown
Posted 11/22/14, 08:30 am

Ouija (rated PG-13 for terror and some language) is like a mashup of a horror movie and the classic Saturday morning cartoon series Scooby-Doo—except the ghosts are not animated, masked henchmen, and Shaggy, Scooby, and Velma each meet a gruesome demise.

Five teenage sleuths are drawn together after their friend Debbie hangs herself with a strand of Christmas lights. In the house where she died, her friends investigate the spooky goings-on using a Ouija board, internet searches, and a flashlight that flickers out when it’s most needed. When the team is down to two, the wise abuelita enters the plot and supplies the spirit-quieting fix.

The cast and setting, beautiful and upper-middle class, serve to glamorize—and trivialize—sorcery. But Christians know they should not “turn to mediums” (Leviticus 19:31) because evil powers are real and destructive.

Cinemagoers will get their money’s worth of frightening reflections, self-lighting stoves, and hissing ghosts, but teenagers should feel cheated. Portrayed as weak-willed and stupid, they say “no” but then jump right back into more foolishness. They routinely retreat to closets to hide from creatures that have already proven their ability to defy most of Newton’s laws of physics.

Parental figures and other adults are largely missing in action. One father taxis out of town while his daughter is in mourning, and Debbie’s best friend, Laine, dismisses the well-meaning high school guidance counselor: “You have no idea what you’re talking about.” That’s the same message Ouija’s director and screenwriter should hear.

Bob Brown

Bob is a graduate of the WORLD Journalism Institute’s mid-career course.

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