Ouija Japan (2021)

What if you combined a Ouija movie and a riff on Battle Royale? This is a question that I never would have thought to ask but here this movie is to answer.

Karen — yep, that’s her name — is an American housewife living in Japan who desperately wants to fit in. This leads her to play Kokkuri-san, which is like Ouija but also astoundingly Japanese in that it summons an animal spirit that is a mix between a fox, dog and raccoon. The fox (kistune) is the trickster, the racoon (bare-danuki) is the bearer of both mischief and fortune, while the dog (inugami) is often used as a curse.

By using three bamboo rods arranged to make a tripod and a pot is placed on the tripod. Three or more people ask questions of the spirit and the pot either moves or remains still, which can be explained away just like a Ouija board. And just like one, this game has plenty of urban legends.

As far as I know, it does not install an app on your phone and give you credits to buy weapons and kill other housewives to the death.

This is director and writer Masaya Kato’s first movie as well as the initial effort for much of its cast. It also shifts between bad English and subtitled Japanese and noen of the voices match up. All of the blood seems to be CGI. Man, should I keep this laundry list going to let you know just how rough this movie is?

Great idea. Weird idea. Goofy idea. Whatever — the execution fails to live up to what this could have been.

Ouija Japan is available on Amazon Prime Video and on blu ray from Leomark Studios and TokyoSHOCK Japan.

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