Harriet Slater stars in a scene from the movie "Tarot." (OSV News photo/Slobodan Pikula, Sony)

NEW YORK (OSV News) – What’s on the cards for viewers of the horror flick “Tarot” (Screen Gems)? As it turns out, not much. While the bloodletting on display in this inept production is relatively restrained, the characters are cardboard and the mythos explaining their bedevilment lame.

To celebrate a friend’s birthday, a group of college students have rented a house at which they drink the night away. Belatedly discovering that they’re out of liquor, they scour the dwelling for alcohol. In lieu of booze, they discover a wooden box containing a pack of tarot cards and, for a lark, decide to have a group reading.

This is facilitated by the fact that one of their number, Haley (Harriet Slater), is well versed in such matters. What slender strands of a background story are on offer concern the untimely death of Haley’s mother, her resulting conviction that fate is inescapable and her recent breakup with her boyfriend, Grant (Adain Bradley).

Returning to campus, the amigos gradually discover that their dabbling in divination has left them cursed. Each is haunted by the predominant figure in the hand he or she was dealt, and nasty (though mostly unseen) deaths ensue.

Among those thus targeted is good-time-Charlie Paxton (Jacob Batalon), a disheveled slacker whose skewed outlook on life is intended to provide comic relief. Third-act elucidations of the ensemble’s predicament are provided by white-haired witchy woman Alma (Olwen Fouéré).

Such is the sum and substance of co-writers and directors Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg’s screen version of Nicholas Adams’ 1992 novel “Horoscope.” It’s an eminently forgettable experience that, while unlikely to frighten or offend grown moviegoers, will probably leave them longing for a reshuffle.

The film contains occult themes, several gory images, a fleeting reference to drug use, a couple of profanities, frequent milder oaths, at least one rough term and much crude language. The OSV News classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


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