Directed by Marcus Adams and written by him and five other writers Long Time Dead centres around a Ouija board party that goes wrong. The group of 20 some-things who “have a go” at contacting the spirits are not taking the whole thing very seriously and that’s a big mistake. The film starts with a montage of scenes showing a 1979 Ouija board seance in Morocco that goes horribly wrong. As the film shifts into present day we meet our core group of folks who will accompany us on this short journey of fear.
The cast only has two ‘notable’ names. The late Tom Bell as Becker, the creepy landlord of the huge house that part of the group share and Joe Absolom as Rob. Tom Bell was a real jobbing actor who was constantly in demand. Absolom got his big break on the BBC soap EastEnders playing Matthew Rose. Absolom could be seen as this generations Tom Bell, he is always working and you’ll see his name appearing in a lot of credit lists.
But then the same can be said of James Hillier, Lara Belmont, Lukas Haas and the rest of the main cast. The film is made up of jobbing actors who can be relied on to deliver. Of course a few of them have improved since their performance in Long Time Dead. The only two actors who stood out were Lukas Haas and Tom Bell. Of course they would stand out, Haas has been in the business since he was 5 years old and Bell had a lifetime of experience.
After the move to present day we meet the guys and gals who will make up the protagonists of the film. Rob, Stella, Liam and Spencer share a house and they are in the process of getting a new house mate, Joe. They all decide to go to a rave type party where Spencer will meet up with girlfriend Lucy and Liam will meet his girl Anne, also attending is mutual friend Webster.
Once the group get there, Liam starts filming everyone on a hand-held camera. Everyone gets bored (sorry about the pun) and decide to break off from the party. Finding a conveniently desert room on the top floor of the warehouse the rave is in, the group decide to make a Ouija board from a large broken pane of glass and some paper.
Lucy is the resident Ouija board expert as she studies witchcraft. Using a small glass as a pendant the group start their seance. Most of the group don’t take the exercise seriously but they all put their index fingers on the small glass. Lucy tells everyone that they must not break contact with the glass pendant until they’ve said goodbye otherwise the spirit that they summon will be earthbound.
The glass pendant then spells out the word Djinn. Someone asks if the board can tell the future and it goes to the “yes” and then spell out, “All die.” It then goes on to spell Anne’s name.
Liam suddenly flips out and smashing the glass runs out of the room. This breaks up the seance and Anne goes out to the roof where Liam ran. After a short talk, she realises that she has left her inhaler in the room. As she suffers quite badly from asthma she goes to get it.
Anne is, of course, the first of the group to die as the Djinn from the Ouija board hunt them all down.
The movie moves at a good clip and there are enough suitably creepy moments that help to sell the scares. The lighting and cinematography work well together to paint a great atmosphere. And although the film does rely on some horror clichés some of what they do is pretty original.
The acting is a let down, as I said earlier, and the plot isn’t blazingly original either. Using the glass pane for the Ouija board was annoying to say the least, the noise of the glass scrapping across the glass was worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. Of course this noise was manufactured by the sound effects department, so they and the director should both share the blame.
The film’s definition of a Djinn (that’s evil genie to me and you) was defined as a “fire demon” which I found quite funny. In the 1997 film Wishmaster (a Wes Craven presents film) a Djinn was just an evil genie, although in that film it was also divested of a twisted sense of humour.
Still the film is a “good un” and well worth a watch. It’s scary enough to cause the odd jump and some of the effects are quite good. For some reason it has always ranked as a favourite of mine and re-watching it, I found this was still the case.
Let me know what you think.
- Can You Spell Ouija Board? (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- A Brief History Of The Ouija Board (mentalfloss.com)
- One in three Brits has seen a ghost (thesun.co.uk)
- Do the dead sparkle? girly Ouija board (infocult.typepad.com)
- Some Thoughts (And Advice) On Ouija (magickshop.wordpress.com)