Awesome Ouija Board (2009) – By James Dubbeldam

Awesome Ouija Board is a 5 minute short film written and directed by Tonjia Atomic and Forrest Baum. It tells the story of two women playing with a Ouija board as they enjoy afternoon tea. It’s a black and white and an attempt at a silent film with title cards in place of dialogue.

With a film so short, every second counts. You think that the titles would be either fast, engaging or have some meaning. But they don’t- other then to set up the pace and style. Which is almost un-necessary. It also introduces the music which almost right away becomes annoying, and continues the entire film.

It’s an interesting style and attempt at something different, but not enough was done to achieve the type of film that would leave a lasting impression. Otherwise, why attempt something like this if that’s not your goal?

When we see the Ouija board- it’s very clear that it’s not real and in fact is quite cheesy. Yet it is so important to the story- which doesn’t help the viewer take the film seriously early on. It is ultimately a dark comedy, but great dark comedies are funny and well-done. I can’t say that about this film.

Having a man play one of the ladies is funny and a great idea. He looks the part and definitely adds to the character of the film (played by Aiden Karamanyan). Unfortunately it’s just not funny enough.

It’s quite slow to begin, not much happens and the same scene could have been set in less then half the time. Also, with pretty much the same shot/framing the entire film, there’s not much there to watch and the viewer almost begs for something else, something different, something more. Why not try some other angles? Get creative! That is what short films are for in essence. Take some risks. The filmmakers obviously began the film by taking a risk, but lacked in camera work, cinematography and variety to make it special.

By the time the “evil” starts the film had lost me. The POV camera work (of a pair of scissors) is confusing. Why use scissors? And the effect itself could have been done much more successfully. And it ultimately came too late.

Overall I applaud the filmmakers for trying something different and taking a risk. I like the concept and what they were trying to do. Unfortunately, in my eyes- it didn’t work. It wasn’t funny and needed to be of better quality.