It never ceases to amaze me how shallow critics of horror films are, because they also profess to be the biggest fans of them, yet they know nothing of the genre. Like all other films, but even more so, if someone dies in a horror film it's because they are all ready dead: some aspect of their behavior is being made an example of by showing how it leads to death; those who survive a horror film either exercise virtue or are at least able to repent sufficiently that they can go on. No other genre of art employs as rigid of a moral standard as a horror film, and Ouija is no exception. There is one important clue to understanding the entire film and that is a newspaper clipping but. As always, this post contains spoilers, so only read further at your own risk; this is a horror film, so there are also GRAPHIC IMAGES of death and violence.New Historicism, examines works of art and looks for clues about what historical context a work of art exists in, or what references it makes to history. So, for example, we can ask what spirit has befriended the Millennials (the greeting, "Hi Friend") and made them think they were one person, when in fact, they are a very deadly spirit? Who claims the Millennials voted for him? We get an impressive newspaper clipping provided for this viewpoint as well as the daily habits of generation Y, or the Millennials. Desperate to find out what is killing their friends, Laine and Peter discover who lived in the house before their friend Debbie (who was the first to kill herself) in an old box with family photographs in the attic and realize what they need to do. The first important clue is: the attic.
Father William S. Bowdern; the only cause of the boy becoming possessed was that he and his aunt had played with a Ouija board, and that's just one, quick example, (so now you know my bias). So the kids play with the Ouija very young and decide for themselves that it's harmless so that's why Debbie, who knows the "rules," breaks the rules and plays with it anyway, and secondly, Debbie tapes herself doing it.
1953 when Doris Zander goes missing. (Remember, this is a fabricated newspaper, they created this just for the film, so of all the things they could have chosen to put on that page, that return of troops from South Korea is what they wanted intentionally).
|This is a rather bizarre scene, an abstract scene, like the art in Debbie's house, when Trevor gets the message "Hi Friend" in the tunnel. What happens is, Trevor rides his bike on a busy street (so he's not driving, even though he could be) and he gets off the path to go down to these tunnels for no stated reason whatsoever. At the tunnel, he hears someone/something. Out of nowhere, a female jogger appears and runs past him without looking at him. A shopping cart, full of old soda cans suddenly starts moving and a piece of chalk rolls towards him on the ground and he sees the words "Hi Friend" written on the wall. What's happened? When we make one decision, certain decisions exclude other possibilities. Trevor deciding not to drive (perhaps because he's too busy surfing and doesn't want to earn money to buy a car) means he has to leave the road and take the path; the path leads to these tunnels. What do these tunnels lead to? Hauntings. Who is that jogger that runs past him? A non-competitive athlete, which is what Trevor is by surfing (surfers compete, and it's a multi-million dollar industry, but Trevor isn't competitive). Surfing hasn't helped Trevor with anything in the film (it certainly doesn't save him when he falls into the pool) and we can compare this to Transformers IV when Mark Walhberg's character throws the football at the bad guy towards the end and knocks him out and saves his own life. In not engaging in a more competitive sport, Trevor runs the risk of losing his masculinity and becoming exactly what the left wants him to become: a woman because he's not exercising his testosterone. The tunnel he's in is probably a reference to the film that's being made by Hollywood liberals Paul Greengrass, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill The Tunnels about some East Germans trying to escape communism (even though you would think a film like this would be pro-capitalist, they are going to re-write history and it will become another pro-socialist propaganda piece). What about the shopping cart? Generally, a shopping cart would be a sign of consumerism, an invitation to get what you need; Trevor, however, isn't a participant in consumer culture, so the soda cans is a sign of him believing in recycling and that cart becoming the vehicle to bait him, like "gas" was for Debbie, the older boyfriend in the black car is for Sarah, and the environment is for Gen Y. Now, I am not saying the environment isn't important, of course it is, but one political party in particular is using it to get votes and they aren't, like Doris, being honest about who they really are and what they really want, and how that's going to prove to be self-destructive for this generation of Americans. What about the chalk? It's a device we saw in The Conjuring, Annabelle and even The Dark Knight Rises. To socialists, everything is easily erased, history, reality, people, and chalk is what is the easiest to erase, meaning that, because Trevor hasn't invested himself anywhere, or done anything that's really going to matter--he has "become one with the waves" and has come and gone just like them--Trevor's life is as easy to wipe out as chalk dust.|
|This is how "Mother" appears to them when they play the Ouija the second time and, given the dramatic lacking of parents in the film, it's no wonder a "mother figure" would appear to them like this. Where is Debbie's dad, we never see him? We never see Laine's and Sarah's mom, and then the dad leaves town. Peter, Trevor and Isabelle might as well all be orphans for all we know; the housekeeper Nona is the only one who takes a parenting role in the film, apart from Mother and,... Laine. When Sarah is ready to sneak out the first time, Sarah accuses Laine, stop "hovering over me all the time," which is a reference to helicopter parents; the problem this film reveals is that parents aren't hovering, they are nowhere to be found anywhere. Is that why Mother protecting them is so difficult for them to grasp, that, like Sarah rebelling against Laine protecting her, the group of freinds are so void of feeling and knowing parental love (like Merida in Brave) that they reject that very force trying to save and protect them? Why would Mother have been practicing to be a medium? Well, the US was very much a "medium" for all the different channels of thought going on at the time and allowing complete freedom of expression: think of the Beat generation and their radical views of life, or any of the hippie and counter-cultural events taking place later in the '60's. The US allowed any form of thought and expression, even allowing people to talk and theorize about socialism, and certain "socialist" programs to be passed by the government. Why, then, did Mother sew up Doris' mouth? To lock up the voices that had started haunting her, or, politically speaking, the "Mother" of the US locked out and buried the voices of socialism that were trying to take over the world by engaging them in war all over the world because of the terrible things happening in the USSR, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and China.|
|Playing with the board at the "dining table" re-enforces the idea of the friends "eating" what the spirit cooks up for them and feeds them, but also enforces the idea that none of them are at home having dinner with their families.|
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