Looking for her dog in the backyard of her new home, a young single mom named India (Lois Wilkinson) discovers an antique Witchboard half-hidden in the undergrowth. She takes it into her home and, a few days later while having a glass of wine with her friend, Becca (Gabriella Calderone) decides to see if the game ‘works’ or not.
If you can’t guess what happens next, then you either weren’t paying attention to the title or the accent of the characters and the generally foggy weather of every scene probably weren’t enough to clue you in to the fact this movie is set in England where they know their spirit conjuring board games by a more accurate name. And since Witchboardgueist would be a terrible title, the producers settled on the slightly less terrible Ouijageist.
Following their half-hearted attempt to ‘play’ Witchboard, strange ‘accidents’ start to happen in India’s house. Becca ‘trips’ down the stairs and ends up in a coma. India’s baby daughter gets ‘hurt’ in the bathroom. Somebody ‘cuts the head off India’s dog’ and throws it at her as she stands in the doorway calling his name.
Although it takes her a long time to realize that all these events aren’t just coincidental, India eventually takes her mom’s advice and asks the local priest to visit the home and see if he can help. In one of the most bizarre incidents in the movie, he gets ‘attacked’ by what looks like a giant rubber sea cucumber growing out of the drain in the kitchen sink.
Up to this point, Ouijageist is pretty predictable and, to be honest, boring, despite the jump scare with the dog head and the trippy scene with the rubber thing in the sink. The pacing feels slow, the dialogue sounds trite and the scenes of demonic horror aren’t even very interesting to watch. And then suddenly, a little bit of movie magic arrives to change all that. Enter Bishop Chapman (Nigel Buckley), a spritely fellow with a knack for making even the most terrifying events seem commonplace using his secret power — horror movie trivia. As soon as he learns from India and her family what’s been happening, he explains that the “potent combination of madness and religion” can often be enough to open a gateway between the netherworld and the world we live in. And he knows because he saw it happen in Poltergeist 2.
It’s a silly moment, but Buckley’s delivery of Bishop Chapman’s theory is delightful, as is the way he bashes Father Merrin and The Exorcist as he readies himself to battle evil in India’s house. Sadly the film doesn’t do much with him after that. As if he knew he was no match for a man of the cloth armed with encyclopedic movie knowledge, the spirit haunting India and her house hides from the bishop, opting to go out and possess a policeman instead in a random scene that makes no real sense. Back at the house, Bishop Chapman eats a pastry and then goes home.
Although they really drop the ball by not having Bishop Chapman go “mano y spirito” with the evil presence, the spirit that Buckley brings to the film seems to energize director John Walker (The Amityville Playhouse) because Ouijageist really picks up steam from that point on. India uses the Witchboard one more time and inadvertently calls up the zombie incarnations of everyone the spirit has hurt or killed. There are some cool zombie effects, a few exciting fights, and a few good kills. Unfortunately, it’s all crammed into the last 10 minutes of the movie making it too little happening way too late.
This April, beware the Ouijageist!
After renting a new apartment, a single mom finds a spirit board buried in the backyard, which conjures the spirits of a group of evil entities who haunt her and her family. A local priest is enlisted to help her put these souls to rest forever.
Lois Wilkinson, Lesley Scoble, Roger Shepherd, Gabriella Calderone, Nathan Head, and Kristofer Dayne star in a frightening new supernatural spooker in the tradition of The Conjuring.
Directed by John R.Walker, and written by Darrell Buxton and Steve Hardy, Ouijageist is available on digital and DVD April 14 from Wild Eye Releasing.
- John Black, Ouijagueist