The Ouija Experiment (2011)

Image 002Brandon and Shay are in the car going to Dallas.  They are excitedly going to Michael’s place for some awesome unannounced event; that’s Michael who is the friend of Shay’s “hot boyfriend Calvin.”

The confusion starts from the first second.  Why are Shay and Brandon traveling together when she is Calvin’s girlfriend?

Michael is not happy having a camera in his face in his home, so the the screen goes black.  In this case, once you go black, you do go back as Michael has the camera back in his face 2 seconds later.  He reveals that the big event for the night is playing with a Ouija Board, having lost some of the pieces to Chutes & Ladders..

This gets both Michael and Brandon giddy as 12 year old girls.  Michael wants the camera off because “ghosts never come out when there are cameras”.  That must be why Ghost Image 005Hunters has lasted 9 seasons without one solid piece of evidence.  I wish I had some good news for the producers of Finding Bigfoot; after 5 years they haven’t figured out that sasquatches are similarly camera-shy.

They gather around the table, but nothing seems to be happening.  Then the pointer[1] starts moving in response to their questions.  A great stylistic opportunity was missed in showing the letters exposed by the pointer.  It is hard to follow, and makes a grating wood-on-wood sound as it moves.  Combine this with a not-particularly likable bunch of immature adults, and this is not an auspicious beginning.

Just when the movie does something right, it blows it.  Shay is filming for no particular reason — it seems she and Calvin’s sister live together (no, I don’t think they do, but that is more confusion), but they’re together at bedtime some reason other than what you might hope. There are actually a couple of good scares as the camera pans across items that definitely shouldn’t be there.  The third one is Lynette wearing some facial cream — a pretty good gag.  She doesn’t believe Shay saw anything supernatural.  WELL, THERE IS A CAMERA STILL IN HER HAND!  TAKE A LOOK!  But no, they just go to bed.  Or maybe Shay goes home — who the hell knows.

Lynette has a good scene with the camera at her house.  Calvin, who I think is supposed to be the comic relief, has his own experience which does not turn out well for him.  Then Michael has his own experience.  Finally, he shows his tape to the others.  All of the weird stuff is gone.

Image 010Strangely for a first-person hand-held movie, there is a flashback.  We learn the backstory — I can’t call it a twist — and it is underwhelming.  The concept could have worked, but the film is just so tedious by this point, and the flashback filmed in such desaturated color, and the performances so off that it is impossible to care.

There is more confusion about birth-dates that seems to lead to nothing.  And who kept that scrapbook?  Everyone was dead.

The film ends back in hand-held mode with a potentially clever twist that is not quite pulled off.  In part, I blame myself for never being able to tell Brandon and Michael apart.  The cast was very diverse, but I must say, with those 2 white guys, I was lost.  Maybe because you only ever saw one at a time as the other was handling the camera.  And where did all those f***ing cameras come from?  Suddenly everyone had one.

Image 001I’m willing to say I might have missed something that explains the above problems.  After all, it is based on true events.  But the fact that the film didn’t hold my attention strongly enough to see the answers reveals a bigger problem.  O possibly, it was just the porn playing in the picture -in-picture.


  • [1]What they call a pointer is actually called a planchette by the Ouija Industrial Complex.
  • The movie is called The Ouija Experiment, they call the board a Ouija Board, but the board onscreen is not an official trademarked Ouija Board.
  • Supposedly filmed on a $1,200 budget.
  • Inexplicably there is a sequel in the works.

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