Ouija Boards have long served as anything from a passing fascination, a spiritual connection, movie theme, to a down right evil doer. Here we delve into all elements of the Ouija Board both good and bad. Please feel to share any of your Ouija Board experiences with us!
2 P.M on a Black Summer’s Day is the debut horror book by IP Spall. The plot involves enemies working together to fight the greater evil. It is a mixture of popular horror genre topics, such as witchcraft and demons, but is not as dark as one would expect. Instead, there’s always a silver lining somewhere in the background, keeping the hope alive.
Everything starts with Samuel, a history teacher who acquires a mysterious wooden box from a questionable character. After Samuel dies, the box goes to his son, Chris. Too curious for his own good, Chris opens the box to find a Ouija board. He invites his wife and friends to play with him, which is when the nightmare begins.
Unlike typical Ouija board complications, the problem isn’t contained in the place where the game is played. Whatever comes out of the board is taking over the city and nobody knows how to stop it, except for May, someone who is part of the first line of witches. As the whole city gets placed under lock-down, May and her husband, Jack, have to work with one of their oldest enemies to overcome the nightmare.
As a first time reader of Spall’s work, I found it incredibly easy to read and cleverly descriptive. And dare I say it’s aimed at a younger adult audience? The whole way through I couldn’t shake the feeling that there’s a lesson to be learned, such as working past your personal opinions in order to reach the greater good.
It’s the style and execution Spall uses that got me thinking about the target audience, because it’s very straightforward and crystal clear. But also, there’s a hint of that “ideal world” fantasy where the neighbors can’t wait to help out and people talk to each other with great respect. Or to be more specific, there’s always mutual respect between the main characters.
On the horror side, this isn’t your typical, gruesome story. Even though Spall does a great job at building tension and making it explode, you’re not going to find the usual dark details. To put it in other words, it’s not the type of book that’s going to leave you terrified. Instead, it’s a feel-good horror where somebody can actually learn something.
Last but not least, I found the plot very interesting. Unfortunately, the part I found most intriguing could be a spoiler, so I’ll just say it’s about the enemies that have to work together. It’s something I haven’t read about before, but it has a very familiar feel.
I would recommend this book to readers who are looking for the lighter side of horror. If you can’t stand getting scared at night, but you are dying to get some good thrills, then this is definitely the book for you. For hardcore horror fans, you might like it as something completely different as to what you’re used to, or you won’t enjoy it.
From a completely personal point of view, I think it’s a well-written debut with a specific audience in mind. There’s a deeper message inside the horror and many readers will appreciate it. Praise has to go to what Spall creates and accomplishes.
Reviewed by Damnetha Jules
Damnetha is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.
Ouija begins with two childhood girl friends named Deb and Lane playing with a Ouija board. The girls talk about the rules to playing which are never to play alone and always say goodbye to the spirits when they are done.
The movie flashes forward to the present, and now both Deb and Lane are teenagers in high school. Lane goes over to Deb’s home to see if she can convince her to go out with her for the evening. She is concerned because lately Deb doesn’t seem like herself and seems almost reclusive. During their conversation, Deb admits that she had played the Ouija board alone and that things have been “rough” ever since. Deb then insists that she is just being silly and that her parents will be returning soon. She tells her friend not to worry about her and that she’ll be fine, she’s just not in the mood to go out. Lane is pacified for the time being and goes to the game without her.
As soon as Deb goes inside and shuts the door behind her, bad omens begin to set in. She throws the Ouija board into the fire before going into the kitchen. The door to the kitchen opens, and a burner on the stove turns on. Deb turns it off, calmly eats her dinner, and returns to her bedroom to find the Ouija board completely unharmed sitting neatly on her bed. It will be the last time her friends see her alive.
At Deb’s funeral the implication is that she committed suicide, though Lane finds it hard to believe. She speaks briefly with Deb’s boyfriend to see what he thought about the probability of it being foul play. Deb’s boyfriend tells her he saw a change in Deb’s personality over the last few weeks, and suicide didn’t seem too far-fetched. She didn’t want to see him, stayed in her home and didn’t want him coming inside.
With Lane and the rest of Deb’s friends feeling lost and confused as to what went wrong, Lane has an idea. She has been asked to watch over Deb’s old home while her parents are away. She tells the friends to come over, and they can play the Ouija board together in hopes to make contact with their deceased friend. Lane is hoping that by having a final talk with Deb will give them all the answers and closure they need.
As soon as the friends begin playing they get a reassuring message,”Hi Friend” the planchette spells out. Lane bursts into questions. Meanwhile, some of the group is starting to chicken out.
A loud thud is heard above them. “Who is this?” Lane asks. The planchette moves to the letter D. Lane explains that they want a chance to tell her goodbye, and all the lights go out in the house.
Lane’s sister insists its just a game and when Lane leaves the room, her sister, and Deb’s boyfriend have a chat. Lane’s sister believes that Lane needs to hear from Deb so badly that she is subconsciously moving the planchette herself trying to get the answers she desperately desires. The friends search the house for lighting and to see what could have caused the noise they heard. Almost instantly, a burner in the kitchen turns on. Deb’s boyfriend then gets close to a mirror when he sees a dark reflection in it, then crashes into the mirror. He then starts yelling that an unknown force pushed him into it. The friends hurriedly vacate the premises. Lane grabs the Ouija board before they go.
Lane’s boyfriend tells her bringing the Ouija board home is a bad idea, but Lane believes that what happened was a sign from Deb.
Soon the friends begin getting the same message, “Hi Friend” almost everywhere they go. Lane’s boyfriend happens upon a tunnel when a grocery cart comes flying at him out of nowhere. He dodges the cart in the nick of time only to look up and see the message in freakish graffiti letters.
Liz, a mutual friend of the group who was there at the time of Lane trying to contact Deb via the Ouija board, is the next to get the message. She is seen flossing her teeth in the mirror when all goes wrong. The floss turns to stitches, and her mouth is sewn up by an invisible force. Her bath water begins to overflow, and she is levitated in the air when her eyes go cloudy, and her head is slammed hard into the sink.
With her friends dying around her one by one, Lane knows she needs answers. She and Deb’s boyfriend attempt to explore Deb’s home in search of anything that could be a clue as to what is happening. Lane goes into the attic where she knows Deb had been the day she died. She sees a dark figure and chases it but instead of finding someone, she discovers a box full of old photographs. The pictures are all of a family that once owned the home.
Lane takes the pictures home but is obviously followed by a spirit. She and her sister hear it walking around as they hide inside the closet. The same message appears on Lane’s sister’s open laptop screen, “Hi Friend.”
The friends know there is something wrong, and they agree to play the game a final time. As soon as they start playing with the Ouija board, a door slams in the home. After doing some fishing, they understand that Deb did not kill herself, and they all seem to be relieved that they are at last having a meaningful conversation with their deceased friend. Deb’s boyfriend takes it upon himself to make sure the spirit is truly his lost love. He asks the spirit if she remembers where they really went on their first date and tells a made up a scenario. When the spirit agrees to remember the date, he cast outs the spirit as Deb’s impostor.
The spirit confesses to not being Deb. Instead, she is a spirit that goes by the name “DZ.” Lane lifts up the planchette and looks through the glass hole, hoping to catch a glimpse of DZ. Sure enough, she sees a blonde-headed girl with her mouth sewn shut. The planchette moves frantically spelling out “Run, she’s coming, mother!” The Ouija board flies up in the air ending their session.
Lane isn’t willing to let this be the end of it. She does some research to uncover the identities of the family from the photos she found in the attic. She determines that DZ is Dora Zander, a girl who went missing in the 1940’s. She lived with her mom and sister in the house that Deb’s parents still inhabit. The mother had passed away, but DZ’s sister is living in a nearby psychiatric ward. Lane plans to pay her a visit to see what she can find out.
DZ’s sister is now an old woman who appears to want to save the rest of the friends before it’s too late. She tells Lane that their mother was a gifted seance worker who used DZ as a vessel for communications. DZ’s body would be briefly inhabited by spirits to give them an audible voice. When the spirits discovered what a great mouthpiece she was, they would not stop talking through her. The spirits began to drive their mother insane, so she sewed DZ’s lips shut. She killed DZ and stuck her in a psych ward. She warns Lane that the negative energy is getting stronger by the minute and will be hard to stop. She tells Lane that her only hope is to go to the secret room of the house where DZ’s body is hidden and cut the stitches on her mouth. She will need to pray that DZ will be strong enough to face her mother’s wrath.
Lane, her boyfriend, and Deb’s boyfriend brave the task together. Lane’s boyfriend is slammed into a wall and left unconscious while Lane scrambles to cut the stitches. DZ and her mother’s ghost both appear scream, then disappear in an instant. Deb’s boyfriend thinks he sees Deb and hurries to her side, to the horrifying discovery that is DZ. She screams in the face, and his eyes go foggy, and his mouth is sewn shut. He falls to the ground and dies.
Lane returns to the insane asylum to confront DZ’s sister. DZ’s sister is overly pleased to hear of her sister’s freedom and breaks into maniacal laughter. She admits that DZ promised to be nice to her from now on if she helped her. Their mother had killed DZ and was trying to protect others from DZ’s wickedness.
Not knowing who else to turn to, Lane asks her housekeeper who she affectionately refers to as “Nana” for help. Nana tells Lane and her sister that they need to destroy both the Ouija board and DZ’s body to free themselves from additional harm.
Lane and her sister return to the home for a final show-down. Lane tricks DZ into playing the game with her while Sarah throws her body into the fire. DZ begins to overtake Lane but is struck down by Deb, who appears at the last minute to throw the Ouija board into the fireplace.
In the movie Witchboard, Linda is a woman who is overly curious about her friend Brandon’s Ouija board. He is frequently telling her about the friendship he has forged with a ten-year-old ghost boy named David that he contacts by using his Spirit board. Linda’s boyfriend Jim is not at all thrilled about Linda’s desire to contact unknown spirits, and while playing with the Ouija Board at Linda’s home, he and Brandon get into a fight. The Ouija Board is levitated off the table, and a loud noise is heard outside. Brandon goes outside to see that his tires have been slashed. They wonder if it was a human force or if it was an aggravated David that had flattened the tires. Brandon forgets to take his Ouija board with him when he leaves.
Linda cannot resist the temptation to try to contact David. She takes the Ouija board out and begins playing alone. It doesn’t take long before a spirit responds claiming to be 10 year old David. He says he wants her friendship and as a show of goodwill he wants to help her find her diamond ring that is missing. He instructs her to take apart the pipes under her bathroom sink, and there she’ll find her engagement ring. After her first one-on-one encounter with this spirit, people notice a change in Linda’s personality. She seems easily agitated, aggressive, and emotional. The friends soon begin to realize that she hasn’t made contact with David. Instead, she encountered a darker spirit. A series of events leads them to believe that Linda’s encounter was with the spirit of Carlos Malfeitor. Carlos was a serial killer in the 1930’s. He is not happy that his time on earth was cut short because of his undying love for murder. Malfeitor’s strongest desire is to inhabit Linda’s body so he can use her to do his killing. Together Jim and Brandon must face Malfeitor together to stop him from axing anyone else.
The plots of both movies together in a few ways. Both feature a female lead who is tricked by an evil spirit into thinking they are a benevolent friend. Both of the spirits from the two movies once lived in the home where the Ouija game is played and cause a change in behavior for the people they contact. The makers of Ouija simply managed to make this movie much scarier.
Witchboard was very low-budget and the acting is sub-par, to say the least. The special effects are almost laughable. Ouija had some truly great actresses like scream queens, Olivia Cooke and Lin Shaye. Obviously, special effects and picture quality have tremendously improved since 1986.