Director: Marwan Mokbel
Writer: Marwan Mokbel
Producer: Melissa Inzunza
Stars: Tara Shayne, Marty Dew, Thomas Garner, Kristen Hagen, Toni Colitti, Richard Muller, Denise Hernandez
A young woman is haunted by a vengeful ghost determined to make her kill her closest loved ones.
You can take a low-budget 2015 indie titled “You Will Kill” and rebrand it “Ouija Summoning” for a Fall 2016 release, presumably to piggyback on awareness for studio sequel “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” but you know what happens? You still have a dead duck movie certain to disappear from online streaming channels, store shelves, and every viewer’s memory well before 2017 even hits.
“Ouija Summoning” runs only 85 minutes, yet is such a draining bore, it took me about four times that long to finish it. The bad news is I lost around six hours to a movie that should have only cost me one and a half. The good news is I was so anxious for any available distraction, I completed a fair number of miscellaneous errands in the meantime.
To illustrate the ADHD “Ouija Summoning” inspires, the following recap/review alternates with approximations of whatever random thought in my head, no matter how pedantic, became immediately more interesting than whatever was happening onscreen. Which reminds me, I wonder if the trash needs to go out…
Looking for a break from dealing with her parents’ marital woes, Sara goes on a camping getaway with her boyfriend Brian and his best friend Santiago. Making a roadside rest stop along the way, two of the three platitudinous personalities follow wailing noises into a nearby house cordoned off with “do not enter” tape. They don’t find the source of the sounds, but they do find a discarded Ouija board that they take on their way out. Because what can go wrong when stealing a Ouija board from a crime scene to bring into a dark forest at night?
What can go wrong when four pitchers combine to give up 12 runs is the Tigers clobber the Indians. At least Cleveland already clinched the AL Central division…
Having apparently never seen a horror film before, someone at the campsite asks, “how do we start?” and the game eventually begins. The ghost grows so tired of the excruciatingly slow way Brian and Santiago operate the pointer that within a minute, the planchette starts moving on its own. Everyone reacts with unfazed faces, as though sudden paranormal activity is as commonplace as receiving a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon in the mail.
These five minutes are the first and last that relate in any direct way to the board, giving “Ouija Summoning” the most tenuous connection to its namesake that any Ouija-related movie has ever had. Distributors should have doubled down by naming the flick “Ouija Conjuring,” thus killing two name association birds with the same barely watchable stone.
Also, rent is due in four days. Might as well write the check now and take it downstairs…
Sara ends up haunted by a vengeful spirit demanding that she kill her friends and family, starting with Santiago. Sara naturally thinks it’s nonsense. But when Santiago meets his fate another way, Sara realizes this evil entity will get what it wants one way or another.
Or something. Partly because my mind was wandering, partly because the movie didn’t generate any interest, I wasn’t following the connection to the pre-title prologue or to Sara’s jumbled dreams of unknown people and voice-overs seemingly comprising some sort of backstory. I actually rewound the initial dream sequence trying to make sense of the breadcrumb background and couldn’t.
This was not the last time I had an urge to go back looking for something maybe missed. But it was the last time I cared enough to bother. Of more pressing urgency was checking on my virtual Springfield in “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” game.
Man, no one I follow has posted a new tweet since I checked during the previous scene? Maybe Facebook…
Dreadful dreams, haunting visions, and sudden deaths madden Sara to the point where she turns to a priest for help. In under 30 seconds of onscreen conversation, Father Marco concludes Sara isn’t crazy. In fact, she is going to need an exorcism.
First, I’m going to need dinner. Grilled steak or baked chicken? I did have chicken in my burrito at lunch, so…
As fast as the priest concludes Sara is possessed, Sara’s father Carter concludes he is a crackpot. I don’t care how much of a skeptic you are. If your daughter is acting incredibly odd, two people have already died, and a priest is telling you a demon might be to blame, at least entertain the idea for a second.
Oh, sweet relief. An unimportant email I don’t need to immediately respond to, but will anyway…
Hold on. A vehicle just exploded in a ball of actual fire, not cheap CGI flames? Either that was footage pulled from something else, or this movie means to tell me they had enough money to blow up a car and that’s what they used it for?
Either way, I should start boiling the potatoes…
Sara has another ghostly encounter, this time coming out of it with a paper identifying her next victim. That revelation is followed by one more nightmare predicting a second head for the chopping block. Then the next scene is Sara’s mother nodding in agreement as Sara says, “finally glad this is over.”
Wait. What’s over? Sara just received two separate premonitions about deaths yet to come, including one in the form of a physical message written by a supernatural presence. Did I miss something again? Maybe I should go back and sort this out, at least for the sake of any readers who might also be confused and want-
No. I don’t care. And neither will anyone else.
My hat tips to the movie’s marketing for squeezing “Ouija” into the title. Someone like myself will watch almost anything featuring a spirit board and I might never have noticed the film otherwise. On the other hand, “Ouija Summoning” is so thinly written, flatly acted, and dully shot that it might be better off not calling any additional attention to itself.
Need some laundry folded? Looking to alphabetize the soup cans in your cupboards? Maybe it’s time to paint those baseboards in the upstairs hallway? No matter how mundane the “To Do” list task, “Ouija Summoning” is all the motivation you need to do anything that isn’t watching this movie.
Review Score: 20