DVD
Witchboard

Starring: Todd Allen, Tawny Kitaen and Stephen Nichols
Anchor Bay Entertainment UK
RRP: 14.99
ABD4375
Certificate: 15
Available 21 March 2005


A couple invite a group of friends to a dinner party. One of the guests, invited by Linda, is an ex-friend of her partner's who he hasn't spoken to for years. During the evening he produces an Ouija Board and proceeds to contact the spirit of a ten-year-old boy, much to the amusement of the others. He inadvertently leaves the board behind when he leaves, and Linda quickly becomes hooked on its use. When a number of dangerous occurrences take place, including a so-called accidental death, Linda's boyfriend and his old friend are forced to reconcile their differences in order to research the history of the boy from the spirit world. However, they soon discover that it's no longer the boy coming through via the Ouija but the malevolent spirit of a murderer, and he's using Linda as a channel through which to make his entrance into the living world...

This may sound good from the description above, but it's amateurish at best. Performances are stilted and character reactions visibly forced. You should never shoehorn characters or situations into a story to make them fit; this film does that at every turn. There is even a scene wherein the two reunited friends sit at a small table right in front of a precariously stacked set of oil drums which you just know are going to collapse on top of them.

I've watched many horror films in my time, and this one doesn't even register on the scream-ometer. There's no sense of danger or tension of any kind throughout the running time. The pace is very slow, particularly the first half-hour. It's no exaggeration to say that this is the sort of film where you long for the phone to ring to interrupt your viewing. I was looking out the window for a Jehovah's Witness to invite in!

Linda is played by Tawny Kitaen, apparently a notorious 80s vixen. Does that mean she was in porn movies? If so, it would have been a safer arena to remain in, with no acting skills required, so to speak (not that I know anything about blue movies whatsoever m'lud, you understand). Er, where was I?

The packaging describes a diabolical bunch of exclusive extras. It certainly is; there's only a commentary, a short making of, film notes, biographies and trailers. The blurb also describes this as a horror hit which spawned two sequels. I feel sorry for whoever has to review those... What do you mean, they're in the post?!

Ty Power

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£11.24 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
£12.99 (MVC.co.uk)
   
£10.99 (Powerplaydirect.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.