1 April 2019

Bring On The Demons

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There was a guy sitting pretty close to me when I went to see Ouija: Origin Of Evil who had clearly misjudged the movie. You know the old trick of taking a girl on a date to a horror film in the hope that she'll cack her pants and grab hold of your wanger or something out of panic? Well, I'm pretty sure that had been his plan because he was there with a girl and you could kind of tell they hadn't been going out for very long. He was that horrible combination of awkward and yet grabby as though still a little nervous to be around her but also confident enough to restrain her in case of any escape attempts. Well, the film began and I'm not sure that things went entirely his way. Not only did she spend the entire movie sat fairly calmly but on the off chance that there was even the smallest hint of a scare, he'd quite obviously shit himself and jump out of his fucking seat. As a terminally single geek, I'm happy to admit that I'm not a reliable expert in the field of dating however I'm also pretty sure that the old 'take a girl to a horror movie' thing only works if you're brave enough to impress them and don't spend the movie squirming about and murmuring as though your fucking love eggs are kicking in.

However, and to the jittery little fuckers' credit, of all the horror films to take the girl to he didn't pick a bad one. Ouija: Origin Of Evil is a prequel to the 2014 film Ouija that I literally have no fucking memory of whatsoever. I guess it's just gotten combined in my brain with all of those other average-to-crap horror films that have generically scary names such as Insidious, Sinister, The Conjuring, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I know that technically that last one isn't a horror movie but I swear to God that Paul Blart is played by a man that's genetically half a fucking potato and I refuse to ever see it again. This film, however, takes place in 1967 and focuses on a family of fortune tellers that, like all fortune tellers, mystics, and UK TV favourite Psychic Sally Morgan, are total fucking charlatans. I'm also not just saying this because I hate anybody that pedals this kind of shite, although that is true. I mean, in the movie, they actually do fake what they do which they believe is for the greater good. Which I would argue is not their fucking place to say. To cut a long story short though, they decide to include an Ouija board in their act which results in the demonic personification of irony coming to life and slapping them across the fucking faces. As a result, the youngest daughter becomes possessed and so starts acting like a crazy little bitch and which actually might explain some of the girls that I've had in my life.

So to clarify the situation, a person in mourning will come to this particular family and they'll pretend to be in touch with the spirit of the loved one that they've lost. The 'fortune tellers' justify this on the grounds that they're bringing a little extra piece of comfort to the bereaved's lives, however the truth is obviously that they're exploiting the living shit out of them and I fucking hate them for it. My argument against them is obviously the fact that they're charging people for this idiotic service when they're at their most desperate and therefore gullible and at the end of the day, who the fuck are they to put words into the mouth of a dead person?! Overall I'd have to say that the family are all presented as likeable and lovely people. The mother of the family struggles to raise her two daughters alone with them having also lost the man of their house. Without her husband and the father to her children, the mother has to work twice as hard to find the money to support her daughters whilst also being there for them emotionally and as a role model. The characters are warmly played by the three lead actresses who do a great job of endearing you to them with the film actually spending a lot of time building them up as people to invest in. But at the end of the day, they're 'fortune tellers' and bullshitters so fuck them. Bring on the fucking demons, I say!!

Interestingly there is actually one other character featured in the story that is the local priest or vicar or whatever the hell he is. I'm not religious so I don't care about their details. He wears a white collar and like the fortune tellers, he also talks shit about impossible ideas. But for some reason, he doesn't have to pay tax when he makes money with his magic. Anyway, I read a thing recently which I found quite interesting about how most ghostly horror movies are actually subtly wrapped attempts at Christian propaganda. All of these films by definition present the reality of an afterlife, the battle between the forces of heaven and hell, and usually involve a priest or vicar or whatever the fuck they saving the day. Just look at the two main characters in The Conjuring who stomp around fighting evil spirits whilst declaring themselves to be 'Agents Of God' as though that's a cool thing to be when we all know it isn't. I know we should all respect each others religious but at the end of the day.. you know.. grow up. People bitched about that last Ghostbusters being an all-female reboot but I'm just relieved that when they asked “Who you gonna call?”, the answer wasn't fucking Jesus.

However as true as all that might be, I suppose it was kind of refreshing that it wasn't quite the case in Ouija: Origin Of Evil. Yes it presents life after death as a fact, and yes there's a fight between the forces of light and darkness.. but the priest here is totally fucking useless. I mean I'd hate to spoil anything but he quite literally does fuck all to help. In fact, having seen him here I'd honestly be sceptical about letting him do a basic fucking Christening in case he accidentally water-boarded the fucking baby. Again he's also well performed by the now grown-up version of the child that played Elliott in E.T. The Extraterrestrial. However in terms of what his character actually accomplishes it's not so much that he should 'phone home', as much as he should just get his coat and fuck off back to it. It's a credit to the film again though that like the main family of vodoo bullshitters, I really liked his character. The problem, therefore, is that the movie spends so much time building up the people and world that when it descends into horror cliches in the final twenty minutes it really undoes a lot of hard work that had gone before it. Secret passages, whited-over eyes, creepy smiles, kids crawling on the ceiling, old burial grounds... I mean fuck it, why not just throw in a history of occult Nazi experimentation if we're going for all the cliches?

I'd be lying too if I said that I felt in any way scared at any point throughout. I enjoyed the bulk of the movie for what it was which is a fucking miracle in itself considering Michael Bay is credited as a producer. Most horror filmmakers lie about having had ghostly things happen to them as they were making the movie however with Bay as a producer this movie genuinely involved making a deal with the fucking devil. However, I do watch a lot of horror films and so without trying to sound arrogant, I suppose my tolerance for this kind of mainstream tosh is slightly higher than average. As mentioned the guy sat next to me was certainly having a hell of a time watching this movie and there were at least two other girls sat behind me that I could hear being frightened every so often. Although I'm not sure those two girls are the best judge of the quality of the film as I got a 'they're definitely fucking dim' vibe off them. At one point the mother in the film asks a ghost that she suspects is her husband, “When I told you that I was pregnant you were in a specific place. Tell me where you were”. The pointer on the Ouiji Board begins to move and spells out the letters, 'S-H-O-W-E-R'. It was at this point that I heard one of the two girls behind turn to the other and whisper, “He was in a school?!” So who the fuck knows. Thanks for reading motherfuckers and see you next time.

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