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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

Witchboard

1986 | United KingdomUnited States | 98 min | More...
A still from Witchboard (1986)
  • Watched on D-: 2 stars (out of 5)
    on Sat May 7, 2022 via Arrow Player

    Tawny Kitaen (of Whitesnake video fame) plays Linda, a woman who falls prey to a malevolent spirit after toying with a Ouija Board.

    Linda’s introduced to the Ouija (pronounced as Wee-Ja, to avoid copyright problems) by ex-boyfriend Brandon, the heir to a lucrative vineyard. Linda’s current boyfriend, Jim, played by lead Todd Allen, dropped out of medical school to work construction and sulk around with a perpetual scowl. Jim and Brandon used to be best friends but had a falling out. Given Jim’s petulant attitude, one can understand.

    And here’s where the film frustrated me. Jim’s a one-note character, but Brandon proves intriguing. How did a wealthy heir develop a deep interest in the occult? Tell that story.

    Another more-interesting-than-the-lead character is the medium Zarabeth, played by Kathleen Wilhoite. Brandon recruits her to exorcise the spirit possessing Linda. Her humorous performance proves the film’s highlight.

    But instead of exploring these more interesting characters, the film draws out sequences with no payoff. Consider the scene where Linda fishes a ring out of the bathroom sink drain trap. We get ominous music, a few false starts, and suspenseful editing. To what end? How is this scary or even dangerous? It borders on parody.

    And yet, I can appreciate how the film’s quirky approach could delight some viewers. It’s as though writer/director Kevin Tenney wrote a straightforward possession story, sprinkled in some off-beat characterization, then taped the script to a wall and threw darts to decide the scary scenes.