Ouija Japan Image

Ouija Japan

By Bobby LePire | October 19, 2021

The other significant issue is that the director fails to establish a proper atmosphere that engrosses and frightens the audience. It would appear that Kato was much more interested in crafting an action title, as that is when the film has the most energy and really begins to come alive. But the mundane first act set up is about as stylish as Clerks, minus the super clever dialogue and engaging performances. The filmmaker also never conjures a sense of the supernatural or spooky, even by accident. Scenes are over-lit, and the editing is wonky at times. These things hurt the attempts at building toward something sinister and frightening.

With all that said, there is one area where Ouija Japan excels. The combat sequences are pretty good. Kato keeps the action, once it begins, engaging with some impressive compositions and a nice variety of styles. Plus, the core group of actors, most of who do at least some of their own stunts, really do handle the fighting with ease and grace. As such, if an indiscriminate cinema buff is hankering for some solid action, then this will work.

The combat sequences are pretty good.”

As a screenwriter, Kato does do a few things rather well. Most importantly, he efficiently highlights Karen’s isolation in just a few images and edits. One really feels her loneliness and desire to fit in. Also, her husband is only in one or two scenes, but their love and his support of her comes through in those brief moments. Plus, while the two actors are only okay, the friendship between Karen and Satsuki feels genuine.

Ouija Japan is not well-acted, as every cast member comes across as stiff or wooden. As a horror entry, it is never remotely frightening, even once. But, the filmmaker effectively puts the audience into the lonely shoes of the lead and the action scenes, which don’t kick in until halfway or so, are pretty fun. So, while not good exactly, the movie is not a total waste of time either.

Ouija Japan (2021)

Directed and Written: Masaya Kato

Starring: Ariel Sekiya, Eigi Kodaka, Miharu Chiba, etc.

Movie score: 4/10

Ouija Japan Image

"…efficiently highlights Karen's isolation in just a few images and edits."

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