HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:71
Everyone remembers that old Ouija board sold at Toys-R-Us right? At least it was back in the days when I was a youngster. Good conservative parents warned their children to never play with them and the rest of us rolled our eyes and giggled at the thought of actually contacting the dead. What better way to resurrect that relic than to make a horror movie about it? Or, in this case, a BAD horror movie about a Ouija board. Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re a horror fanatic like me then you have to put up with bad horror on a daily basis. It’s almost a staple of the genre, and actually part of the charm. I mean, how many movies in the slasher genre are actually GOOD movies? However, we still have a blast with them. Same with just about any of the subsets in horror, but unfortunately “Ouija” falls into that category that no horror movie fan wants a movie to fall into. The so bad, that even its own badness isn’t endearing any more.
Debbie (Shelley Hennig) and Laine (Olivia Cooke) grew up together playing that silly game when they were children and now it looks like it’s come back to haunt them. After playing with a Ouija board found in her house, Debbie ends up committing suicide (or at least that’s what everyone is led to believe) much to the chagrin of Laine. Overcome with grief, Laine decides to use the Ouija board in Debbie’s house to try and contact her dead spirit in an effort to say goodbye. With the help of her friends, Sarah (Ana Coto), Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), Isabelle (Bianca A. Santos), and Pete (Douglas Smith), she makes contact with a spirit who claims she’s Debbie. Not long after that weird things start happening and friends start dying. Realizing that maybe Debbie wasn’t the one they were talking to, the group discovers that there was a murder committed in the house long ago. A young mother killed her daughter there and the evil that haunts that house today stemmed from that incident. Intent on fixing the issue, Laine tries her hardest to destroy the connection between the spirit world and the living only to find out that things aren’t exactly as they seem. Bodies are still dropping like flies and soon enough Laine may be the only one left alive. If even that.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=37850[/img]“Ouija” commits several fatal flaws that really killed it for me. I enjoy horror movies, and even bad ones are a blast in the right context, but “Ouija” commits seppuku on itself from the first 15 minutes. The scares are 99% jump scares, but not only jump scares, but jump scares telegraphed so badly that no one can even be startled by them. Not only that, but the script is so poorly written that every move in the entire movie seems straight from the supernatural horror playbook. Dumb teenagers who look WAAAAAY too good to be actual teenagers end up unlocking an evil that plagues them. They do their best to do so but end up getting killed in the process. The remaining hero somehow manages to outwit the spirit and put the genie into the bottle……or did they? Oi vey, by the 10 minute mark I was visibly wincing, and by the 30 minute mark I was feeling punished. By the time the movie ended I was gasping for air and wondering how I got through it without throwing the remote through the screen.
Acting wise, it really wasn’t much better than the script. Every character in the movie acted as flat as a board, and even though the plot SERIOUSLY resembles “Drag me to Hell”, the level of acting and direction was nowhere near that level of fun. Had it not taken itself so seriously the movie had some potential to be more fun that it was, but with the dead pan serious tone it took there wasn’t much to be had. Olivia Cooke is the ONLY bright spot in the film, as she is simply fantastic in “Bates Motel”, but you can really tell this one was just a paycheck for even her, and her limited effort really didn’t help a whole lot.
Rated PG-13 for disturbing violent content, frightening horror images, and thematic material
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=37858[/img]“Ouija” may not be a great movie, but Universal did a great job with the Blu-ray. Presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio in the AVC code on disc, the image looks spectacular. Like most horror movies this one is pretty much soaked in darkness and shadow. With that being said, the level of detail is simply stunning as there is ample opportunity to show of your home theater system on this one. Facial detail among the flickering candle light is excellent and there is more than enough details on the shadowing house itself, from the soft curtains in the background, to the edges and curves on the Ouija pointer itself. The blacks are inky and deep without obscuring the view and the movie looks razor sharp from beginning to end. There’s a few flickering of softness that occurred in the first half of the movie, but overall the image is nearly impeccable.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=37866[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA does a great job of adding a nice layer of tension and suspense to the film with a track that does a reasonably good job at the immersion level and adds some seriously nice LFE to the jump scares. The moment the gas stove came on in Debbie’s house my entire couch nearly lifted off the floor and set me back down. The dialog itself is quite excellent and seems solidly balanced with the rest of the ambient noises. My only real major complaint is that the surrounds felt a bit light. There was plenty of times where they made their presence known, but it lacked that level of sonic detail and finesse that really makes a horror track good. It’s a nice track and does a great job, almost on the level of a 4.5/5 rating, but there was this feeling that it was just “missing” something to push it into that tier.
• The Spirit Board: An Evolution
• Adapting the Fear
• Icon of the Unknown
I really love the horror genre and went into “Ouija” with an open mind, despite the negative theatrical buzz. Unfortunately this is one of those films that has very little redeeming qualities about it, as it’s about as hum drum and clichéd as they come. Universal did a bang up job with the audio and video, but if the movie isn’t worth watching by itself, great specs can’t do a whole lot. If you plan to be a masochist and check it out, I would highly recommend a rental first, otherwise I would personally skip it.
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff
Directed By: Stiles White
Written By: Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French (Canadian) DTS 5.1
Runtime: 89 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 3rd 2015
Buy Ouija On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
More about Mike