Posted October 31, 2014 by in


Total Score

0/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: horror
Director: Stiles White
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff
Length: 89 minutes
Release Date: 10/24/2014
Studio: Universal Pictures (presents), Hasbro (in association with), Media Rights Capital (in association with), Platinum Dunes, Blumhouse Productions (as Blumhouse)
What We Thought

Ouija is incompetent. Calling it an amateurish, straight-to-dvd level movie is an insult to amateurish, straight-to-dvd level movies. It’s plodding, monotonous, deathly boring, and unbearably bad.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
I was on vacation last week in NYC.  I told my friends that I needed to catch up on Ouija, who had already seen it.  They all exclaimed in unison, “NO!”
     Why didn’t I listen.  Why, why, why?
     I saw it anyway to see if it deserves a spot on the bottom half of my end-of-the-year list.  It does.  It earns that spot with flying colors.  I sat through the film with a sprained knee.  I preferred my injury to Ouija.
     Ouija is incompetent.  Calling it an amateurish, straight-to-dvd level movie is an insult to amateurish, straight-to-dvd level movies.  It’s plodding, monotonous, deathly boring, and unbearably bad.
     The story is about five white, middle-class teenagers who try to contact the spirit of their friend, Debbie (Shelley Hennig), who recently killed herself.  The teenagers are the kind of zero-dimensional characters universal to bad horror movies, performed by young actors struggling under a first-time director, Stiles White, who co-wrote the screenplay with Juliet Snowden.
     The teens make contact with a spirit, believing it to be Debbie.  It follows them into their daily lives away from the Ouija board game, writing “HI FRIEND” to each of them, on the wall in chalk, scratched into a desk, etc.  Chalk on a wall is not scary.  Now, writing “HI FRIEND” in blood might have been scarier, but this is a PG-13 movie.
     Obviously, the genre demands that the spirit, whoever it may be, is not their friend.  The spirit has a habit of sewing their mouths shut before killing them as the film’s gimmick.  However, because of the rating and the film’s budget, it can’t show how it does this.  Instead, it awkwardly cuts to their mouths already sewn up.  Hurray for family-friendly horror movies, which give kids the chance to watch teenagers hang themselves after playing with Hasbro products.
     The credits specifically mention that the film is based on the “Ouija” board game made by Hasbro, the studio behind this awful mess.  What is anyone expecting here?  A PG-13 horror film for teenagers with Michael Bay listed as a producer, from the studio that brought you Transformers 2 and Battleship.
     This is the kind of movie where the final girl (Olivia Cooke) can walk into a mental institution (don’t ask…) just by saying, “I’m here for visiting hours.”  It does not work that way.  This is the kind of movie where a corpse lies in the basement that apparently no one has ever noticed since they moved in.  This is the kind of movie where the ending is facilitated by deus ex machina, the cardinal no-no of how to end a movie.  The solution comes out of nowhere and without explanation.  At least it was finally over.
     Or is it…?  The film hints at a sequel, and its box-office success ensures that possibility.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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