Studio: Wild Eye Releasing
Director: Luis Carvalho
Writer: Luis Carvalho
Producer: Gary Andre
Stars: Jocelyn Padilla, Nicole LaSala, Ryan Boudreau, James Barrett, Rob Roy, Brinke Stevens, Aaron Peaslee, Cesar Pereira
Six teenage friends inadvertently resurrect a vengeful murder victim during a Ouija board séance.
This is what went through my mind when I started watching “The Ouija Possession:”
“Damn. This seems familiar. Like really, really familiar. Sure, I’ve seen more movies featuring typical teenagers summoning supernatural spirits with Ouija boards than can be counted, but I feel like I’ve seen this specific one before.
“This Skeet Ulrich-looking dude. That pale-skinned thin kid with curly blonde hair. This goofily staged scene of two-on-two football played on a field the size of a child’s bedroom. Yeah, I could swear I’ve seen this. How is that possible when it was only released a few weeks ago?
“Let’s see. The director’s name is Luis Carvalho. That vaguely rings a bell too, unless I’m thinking of Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge from “The Simpsons.” What else has he done? Only one other movie: “Jonah Lives.” Wait a minute. The evil spirit in this flick is named Jonah. Except this isn’t a sequel, this is… oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. I’m watching something I’ve not only already seen, but even reviewed last year, and it took me this long to fully figure it out.”
More than once a movie has caught my attention and in determining if I wanted to watch it, I’ve looked up coverage online only to stare straight at a review I forgot I wrote. One of the perils of watching so many unmemorable microbudget horror movies, I suppose. But this is the first time I’ve followed all the way through on pressing Play and sitting with a confused sense of déjà vu for several minutes. Congratulations on accomplishing that much, “The Ouija Possession.” You’re the first, and Crom willing the last, movie to ever trick me into an undeserved repeat viewing.
That’s right. 2016’s “The Ouija Possession” is actually 2012’s “Jonah Lives” sneakily rereleased under a new title.
An IMDb user mentions, perhaps speculatively, that the film has been reedited, even assessing that this supposedly updated cut is an improvement. I don’t believe the movie has been altered at all. Times like these are when the detailed plot synopses included under ‘spoiler’ buttons above come in handy. “The Ouija Possession” follows notes I kept for “Jonah Lives” in perfect order. If changes exist, I didn’t spot any and can’t imagine where or what they would even be.
The bigger question is, do I have to write a new review for “The Ouija Possession” or can I simply cut and paste the one I wrote for “Jonah Lives” a year and a half ago? I mean, if a movie can repackage old material and present itself as a fresh product, shouldn’t a critic be able to do the same with his/her previously published words?
Here’s a relevant paragraph from my “Jonah Lives” review (full review here):
“Having filmed in 2011, “Jonah Lives” debuted in 2012, had its film festival premiere in 2013, and finally received wide home video distribution in 2015. In those four years, “Jonah Lives” was the only film made by writer/director Luis Carvalho. Several of the actors did not appear in any other features during that time, either. These notes are relevant because it offers an idea of how entrenched some of the associated talent is (or is not) in professional filmmaking careers. In other words, this is a group of predominantly amateur family and friends making a DIY one-off.”
Sadly, 18 months hasn’t falsified that last sentence. “Jonah Lives/The Ouija Possession” remains Luis Carvalho’s only directorial outing and much of the cast hasn’t had a fresher credit since. The movie merely has one more pin to drop on its bumpy timeline of 2012 debut, 2013 festival premiere, 2015 release, and now 2016 repurposing.
To save you the click/tap of moving over to the other review, here are excerpts that explain why the movie shouldn’t have been released once, much less three times:
- Cuts read like editing room errors, as though arranged how Nostradamus ordered his quatrains by throwing individual shots in the air and piecing them back together according to how they hit the floor.
- Bizarre mistiming creates an off-balance rhythm highlighting a confused concept of how to tell a story through film.
- The movie doesn’t even get the basics of a vengeful ghost plotline right.
- There is no rescuing “Jonah Lives” from its underdone acting, overbaked dialogue, and derivative setpieces.
In to-the-point terms, “The Ouija Possession” is still as forgettable as it was when it went by the name “Jonah Lives.” And now I have two reviews to prove exactly how forgettable it is.
Review Score: 20