Filming in Mexico with English dialogue and using tropes from successful horror franchises must equal success, no?
Gifted a Ouija board for his birthday, Michael and his friends have unlocked a demonic spirit and its murderous charge. Let’s dig into 1988’s “Don’t Panic”, directed by Ruben Galindo Jr.
As I See It
Let’s jump right in and address the star of the show: the dinosaur pajamas. I’m positive I had the same pair as a seven-year-old. Watching Michael run around in them is obscenely comical.
The soap opera performances breach from absurdly cheesy to laughably bad. Our main characters live an entire relationship in a single day. A profession of love, the threat of another guy, and then re-enacting the cover of a romance novel, with a whimsical piano score. The long gaze into each other’s eyes, the open mouth gasp, the slight tug of hair.
A classroom daydream feels too much like A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the “tribute” doesn’t stop there.
A climax in a boiler room/electrical room? Check. A gravelly-voiced demon, who attempts Freddy like one-liners that fall flat before they’ve even left his putrid tongue (“Time to visit Hell!”). Check, check. Even the makeup resembles a pallid version of ol’ pizza face.
Whether they were trying to bank on the success of genre heavyweights or the Satanic Panic, which was at a fever pitch, there is no full commitment — and it reeks.
Of Gratuitous Nature
I can’t find much excuse for straight-up ripping off elements of other more successful films. It’s not homage; it’s duplication for profit.
If you’re into blonde Jheri curls and uni-brows, this is the movie for you.
Ripe for a Remake
The Ouija board has been a catalyst for many horror films before and after. This would be the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality and therefore not worth regurgitating that which was already derivative.
No progeny to report.
Where to Watch
Vinegar Syndrome released a Blu-ray with a limited edition slip cover here.