Ouija: Worth It Or Worthless


Release Date: October 24, 2014

Runtime: 1 hrs. 29 min

Distributor: Universal Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Production Budget: $5 mil (Estimate)

Opening Weekend Gross: $20 mil (Estimate)

Friday Gross: $8,300,000 (Estimate)

Some call it a spirit board. It has existed for centuries. It is used to communicate with the other side


This seems impossible but I’ll try. A young woman, looking for questions about a loved one, unleashes a spirit while trying to use an Ouija board to reach a loved one. While dragging her closest friends into the mix, because that makes sense, she must figure out the origin of the spirit, and stop it, before it’s too late.


From the trailers, Ouija came off like another cash-in by producers that know how to fool people into giving their hard earned money away. The film came off simply as generic and uninspired to me. The kind of lack of attention to detail that seeming only people working on limited senses could muster. You know, three out of five maybe. With that in mind, I dragged my body like the piece of an Ouija board to the theater to experience the latest horror outing. What I found shouldn’t suppose anyone. So let’s break out that old spirit board as I review the 2014 horror film, Stiles White’s Ouija.

you ever feel like even after someone you love has died, there’s still a way you can talk to them- Laine Morris


Stiles White directs Ouija with absolutely zero style, as ironic as that sounds. The film, though I can smell a studio for hire job like biscuits and gravy on Sunday morning and expected this out of the gate, comes off the screen like a cocktail of dismal cinematic proportions; one half game tie-in, one half uninspired Pg-13 horror, and a dash of jump scares. The dash is seemingly the only flavoring in the bland film that is Ouija and you will get it over and over again.

From the beginning of the film, it’s painfully obvious the pacing is way too slow and the minutes will begin to feel like hours. The reason for this is there really isn’t a story here until the second act begins. What we get instead of the set up from what should be an entire story that we are being told, we get sibling rivalries that amounts to basically nothing, a barely developed romantic relationship that our “main” character is in that ultimately isn’t used and eats up screen time, and a bunch of noises surrounding a Ouija board that could have been excluded from the story and no one would have noticed. No joke, the film could have not had the ole spirit board in it and only minor things would have needed to be changed. That’s how unfocused and unrealized this film is. It’s as if the films doesn’t know what the story is that its telling, constantly shifting focus in the unforgivably short 89 minute running time.

The camerawork is bland as well. It’s hard to even call this direction honestly, as the shots are textbook and boring. While I having been enjoying longer takes from hack directors being saved by the flexibility of shooting on digital, composition has been throw to the side unless you’re a real director with vision. Since film has basically gone extinct; it’s only used by limited television productions and real filmmakers who insist, this has occurred more and more. This ideology explains Ouija to a tee. Ouija features longer than average takes, which helps the film not be choppy in the edit, but the shots aren’t purposed and this disables the camera from being utilized as a storytelling device itself.

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The acting in Ouija is flat out pedestrian. It’s not that it’s aggressively bad, as the world of Ouija isn’t set up to exposes such things, the problem is the cast is on auto pilot. They’re not playing characters, individuals that could be real and are uniquely themselves; they are more like walking meat sacks. This isn’t  good as the audience needs to anchor to someone they can see as themselves or someone they truly care bout, nothing as such will be found in Ouija.

The film stars Olivia Cooke, who you might have seen in the A&E show Bates Motel(2013-), playing the lead Laine. The problem with the character, as Cooke isn’t horrible in the film and with a passable script she could make those pages sing, is the way in which Laine is written. She does something early in the film that makes her look less than intelligent or intuitively caring. It’s imperative that the main character comes off as intelligent and brimming with common sense. You don’t get much of that here; when you do its far too late.

Among the dismally bland cast, we do get a surprise Cameo from the always great Lin Shaye. She is easily the best part of the film, as she is doing real acting instead of working hard to seem naturally in the created world of the film. The rest of the cast is passable, and I can’t stress this enough, with Douglas Smith as the only one, other than start Cooke and Shaye, that comes remotely close to being more that just good enough.


The script for Ouija was probably written on the back of Mcgriddle wrappers or might have been better if so. Hmmmm bacon. Ok back to Ouija. This isn’t a script. This is a cash tie-in with the popular board game. That’s all it is. At times the movie stumbles onto some sense of story, but this is extremely short lived and is followed with even more mind numbing lunacy.

Right out the gate, the film makes mistake after mistake. The opening isn’t concerned with world building, nor with really establishing any grounds for the “story” we are about to be told, nor is it about characters that the audience with truly care for, it’s just concerned with getting to the board. It’s all about the Ouija people.

One of the biggest jobs of a storyteller is to answer questions before the audience even asks them. Ouija isn’t worried about that, it’s got the board, problem solved. The film spends thirty minutes feeling like ten different movies, spends another thirty managing to just become a generic studio film and it’s actually refreshing when it does, then spends the last thirty minutes insulting the intelligence of the audience by force feeding mythology, laughably out of nowhere, that can only be described as lazy and half baked. I hated this film and I hope it know this. I might try and get an Ouija board to further communicate  my message; then again I don’t want to support the cause.

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I simply can not recommend this film to anyone. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t being sold something the whole time and was being told a story. This only happens two percent of the time in Ouija. It’s filled with an inconsistently ridiculous plot, if you can call it that, and lazy performances. Instead of seeing this horror version of transformers, pop in a favorite horror film, use the money on a nice dinner, and call it a day. Happy Halloween Deadites.

Grade: F