Ordinarily I post the trailer of the movie being reviewed at the top of my post. However, I feel that the trailer spoils some great scenes in this movie, so I really advise against watching the trailer. I respect this movie too much to spoil anything, which is surprising because I was underwhelmed by the trailer. The first Ouija movie was pretty mediocre. I also thought that it would not be scary because of the CGI. Practical effects are always more appealing to me than CGI.
The movie opens kind of like a TV movie. Not like the current day Sci-Fi Channel Original, but more like the ones from the 70’s and 80’s. It was very nostalgic and I liked that. No long intro or title cards. The movie starts and then the title pops up as an overlay during some establishing shots in the first scene.
The character introduction was very good. We meet the mother and her two daughters and we are shown the individual issues they are dealing with. The mother is a widow and is struggling financially and struggling to fill the role her husband might fill in certain aspects of her children’s lives. The teenage daughter is dealing with coming of age and wanting more freedom to socialize. The youngest daughter is dealing with being bullied at school. All three are trying to cope with the loss of their husband and father. Showing this, it got me invested in the characters early.
The way it’s shot is really engaging. There are times when two characters are having a conversation in the foreground and another character is doing something else in the background and it draws your attention to both. There were other times when something would be should just on the edge of the frame. There was also some great use of shadows. These elements were all done with great subtlety.
The jump scares were very effective. They did that timing trick I talked about in Sadako vs Kayako. Having non-predictable scares helped. There were some horror tropes that are seen other supernatural and paranormal themed movies, but there were also some things that I completely didn’t see coming.
Contrary to what I initially thought coming into this movie, the CGI was not too much of a hindrance. It would have been better if they used practical but the scares were still pretty effective despite the choice to use CGI. They used tension, suspense, great timing, and unpredictable actions to produce really effective jump scares.
There were some slight homages. I will mention only one because it goes by so quickly, you might not notice it. At one point a character goes to the house. He pauses in front and looks up momentarily and it was very reminiscent of that moment in The Exorcist when the priest goes to the O’Neill’s home and pauses looking up .
There are a couple of scenes that lost their impact because they were shown in the trailer. If you haven’t seen the trailer these scenes will get you good! I really enjoyed this movie. It was creepy and it made me jump multiple times.