Updated: Sep 2, 2020
Directed by: #ChristopheLenoir
Hexing is directed by Christophe Lenoir and tells the tale of Hannah (Emma Eliza Regan), a young woman in Ireland who accidentally unleashes an evil spirit through a ouija board she finds in an antique shop. If that plot sounds vaguely familiar in any way, it’s because you’ve seen it a hundred times before in the many haunted ouija board movies produced over the past decade. Much like the films it’s aping off of, Hexing is both uninspired and uninteresting while bringing to the table its own flavour of poor editing and plot structure.
The major issue with Hexing is its jumbled script, which has far too many narratives in play. There are multiple plot threads throughout the film, none of which are engaging and all drawing attention away from the story involving the ouija board. The main conflict isn’t established until late into the first act, and even then, it is treated like a b-plot. This lack of focus makes it difficult to care about any one element of the plot as none of the storylines or character relationships are developed sufficiently. For a film that is only 80 minutes long, there is simply too much going on.
In what feels like an attempt to address this convoluted narrative, the film is also littered with exposition-heavy flashbacks that, rather than adding clarity, only cause further confusion. These scenes are far too frequent and unengaging to the point that it feels like you’re listening to the film rather than watching it. The main story, involving Hannah, is itself entirely told as a flashback, which is a choice that seems only to have been made to further explain things to the audience. This approach means that the visual storytelling is virtually non-existent at points.
This already cluttered plot isn’t helped by the fact that the editing for Hexing is very inconsistent. Some scenes are properly paced and have a clear beginning and end, while at other times we cut into what feels like the middle of a scene with little context for what’s going on. This uneven pacing means that some pivotal plot points are quickly brushed over, which makes it challenging to follow exactly what’s happening. Similarly, there are issues with the sound editing, as obnoxious and distracting effects and musical cues are scattered poorly throughout the film.
The performances are unremarkable with no one individual being notably good or bad. There is, unfortunately, very little for the actors to work with as the muddled story allows for no meaningful character arcs to unfold. A further disservice to the actors is the staging of certain scenes, which are then presented in such a way that it’s unclear where characters are in relation to one another. Errors such as this take you out of the film completely.
It’s worth noting that Hexing does succeed in parts. The few special effects incorporated into the film are executed well considering the low budget and aren’t as jarring as the VFX in similar indie features. There are also some nice exterior shots of the Irish coast and landscape that showcase fleeting moments of pleasing cinematography. However, these minor positives do little to improve the overall viewing experience.
With its derivate story and bland characters, Hexing offers nothing new to the tired sub-genre of evil ouija board movies. Even with its tiresome narrative excused, the film’s unfocused script and scattershot editing are enough to make it an incoherent mess. The areas in which the movie does succeed are greatly overshadowed by its flaws in everything from writing to craft.