Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
When you think about it, Hasbro's concept of the Ouija board sounds like a pretty messed up idea for a toy.  A device that summons the dead.  Yep, that's pretty messed up.  But I remember my uncle having one of those things way back in the day, and watching him and his friends trying to summon the dead, with their silly game always ending in a fight, usually a fist fight, with some friend accusing one of the others of pushing that thing around, manufacturing answers.  Ah… those were the days.  Since Hasbro and their toy tie-ins have done so well… Tranformers, GI Joe and uh… Battleship… why not go for one more, right?  So now we have 'Ouija', which seems like a solid launching point for a horror movie, albeit a terrible launching point to sell a board game.  Because… well… the dead you summon in this movie kills you and stuff.  Unfortunately for me, while my expectations for this one were pretty low, Ouija managed to find that low bar and go below it.  Amazing.

Debbie (Shelly Hennig) is cleaning her attic and finds an old Ouija board.  Why not play it?  Even though the Ouija rules, all of which I was unaware of, clearly state that you should never play it alone.  Mind you, Debbie herself as a kid laid these rules out for us so why she didn't follow her own rules is beyond us, but there it is.  Debbie has set something free by using the Ouija board by herself, and now Debbie is no longer with us.

This tragic event makes Debbie's best friend Laine (Olivia Cooke) terribly sad.  Why did Debbie take her own life?  I mean she's CW pretty, has awesome friends, an awesome boyfriend and her parents are NEVER home which means she has a free run of the house all the time.  None of these kids parents are ever home by the way.  Trying to find answers, Laine wanders around Debbie's house, because as per usual her parents aren't there, she finds the Ouija board and thinks that somehow Debbie might be trying to contact her through this board.  Crazy, but it's possible.
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Laine manages to cajole her friends into going to Debbie's house, crack open the board, and summon the dead.  These friends, which includes Laine's boyfriend, Debbie's boyfriend, the minority-ish Isabelle (Bianca Santos), which means she's doomed, and Laine's little sister Sarah (Ana Coto) all believe this is a terrible idea, but they do it anyway.  Now about this little sister… she's minding her own business, not bothering anybody, but her big sister drags her to this house for this wacky séance because, as usual, no parents around.  She also forces her touch the Ouija thingie, actually called a planchette if you curious, and now little sister's life in danger too.  Not to mention the friends Laine dragged along.  If you take a step back, the true villain in this movie is Laine. 

Regardless, the friends start dying, because of what Laine did.  She needs to undo this which brings her to a nursing home where she meets a character played by actress Lin Shaye, which means almost instantly she's up to no good, but Laine listens to the sage advice this strange woman has to give her.  Now all is well.  Until it isn't well.  And more friends will die.  Because of Laine. 

From a personal standpoint, there was nothing in director Stiles White film 'Ouija' for me to grab ahold of.  For instance, the cast of young ladies in this film are very attractive, but they also very young, thus I could not appreciate them being good looking without feeling dirty.  If you're twenty or a dirty old man, then you won't have this problem so enjoy that.  The movie is also predictable.  To a fault.  The 'thing' in this movie is observing people with their mouths sewed together and eyeballs rolled back in their heads.  So when a character slowly walks up to another character, ominous music pulsating, and touches this character so he turns around, we already know that his mouth will be stitched together with his eyeballs in the back of his head.   The whole movie is filled with predictable chaff like that.  But again, if you happen to be really young and haven't seen many horror movies, this may actually scare you.  At least before I just ruined it for you.

With that being said, I can let actresses too young to ogle and painfully predictable plot points and tired dialog and a sketchy narrative slide, but the main crime committed by Ouija was that it was so darned dull.  I mean it's a short movie but yet I was checking my watch… or more accurately my cell phone since hardly anyone wears a watch anymore… wondering how long I had left to sit through this.  It felt as if there were these terminally long stretches in this film where nothing was happening and we were forced to watched these kids try to pretend like they were sad, or scared, or concerned when in actuality they seemed as bored to be in this movie as I was bored watching it.

But I will maintain that if you are a young movie watcher, and considering this movie is rated PG-13, it is more or less targeted towards you, there is probably a lot more for you to grab on to and appreciate than a crusty older dude like myself.   I'm not sure the dullness of this exercise will escape you, but at least you can appreciate the pretty girls, and the predicable nature of this exercise will be far less pronounced.  At least I hope so.
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