Movie Review-Witchboard

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Currently Available from Shout! Factory

Review-In 1987, I remember me and my little brother going down to the local video store. As we were going thru the horror section we noticed a title called Witchboard, and decided to take a chance on it. In the 80’s horror was all about graphic violence, gratuitous nudity and pushing the MPAA guidelines as far as you could to not only get an R rating but to make your fan-base happy. Films like Witchboard were considered little gems because you had to be a horror fan at that time to know about films like this. To revisit this film 27 years later was such a good time. This film takes on the supernatural side of horror in the form of an Ouija board. At a college party, live-in lovers Todd Allen and Tawny Kitaen run into Stephen Nichols, who was their former best friend and boyfriend. Nichols brings his date an old Ouija board and shows off by dialing up the spirit of a 10-year-old boy killed 30 years before. Tawny Kitaen stars as Linda Brewster who becomes obsessed with this Ouija board. Linda gets told to never use the board alone, but she gets tricked by the evil spirit of some murderer who convinces her he is David. Where a film like Witchboard works so effectively it builds relationships with the main characters and tells a story that develops as the film does. I feel the first hour is the most effective and really builds up the last half which does get a bit hokey towards the end. This film seems to fit in more with horror is today then where it was in 86-87. With films like Sinister and The Conjuring, Witchboard seems like the perfect fit in terms of the pacing and effectiveness of the scares. This is a film that does not follow a formula in the first hour which makes me even more upset about the last half of the film, because it seems that the creative juices started to freeze and they went with the flow to end the film. Witchboard does have some decent scares and some chills, and the trio really delivers very good performances, while towards the end the performances start to feel a little cliche. This film really has such a strong first hour that it makes up for the lackluster second half. I am just glad that this is finally on blu ray and Shout! Factory released it because they did a very good job and the commentary which I heard bits and pieces because I was more concerned with watching this film again and finally getting rid of my VHS copy. All in all, this was such a fun trip down horror’s history that I would say that everyone needs to see it just to get you ready for the Amy Dolenz sequel that I have to revisit again as well. Kudos to Kevin Tunney for Shout! Factory releasing this little gem and Night of the Demons…speaking of which…

8 out of 10