On paper, the premise is good. Everyone knows about Ouija boards. We are all intrigued, terrified, or indignant. Whatever the case, we’ve grown up hearing about them being used by spiritual mediums and in seances. We see them: it seems fun, maybe ironic, but we don’t actually use them. Only crazy people do right? It is our culture’s curiosity and even disbelief with matters of the spirit world that Ouija banks on. Unfortunately, good on paper doesn’t always mean good on screen, and Ouija ultimately disappoints.
Ouija stars Olivia Cook as Laine (The Signal), BFF of Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig, Teen Wolf). Debbie, after playing with a Quija board, dies under “mysterious circumstances.” In her grief and disbelief at the loss of her friend, Laine gets together with her friends to perform a seance so she can finally say “goodbye” to her best friend. That’s normal, right? Shockingly enough, creepy things begin to happen, and suddenly an unknown, possibly malevolent force, is following her and her friends around. To follow are a predictable set of horror movies tropes including… (some spoilers to follow in list form.)
- Creepy house noises.
- Bland teenagers whose names you’ll never remember.
- Splitting up into smaller groups.
- Children’s laughter.
- Jump scares.
- Friends who don’t announce themselves until they are right behind you.
- A house with a history of violence.
- A “friendly” spirit.
- Mental institutions.
- People lacking common sense.
- Chuckles when you see the monster and are not scared.
- Setup for the sequel it will likely never get.
Ultimately, Ouija was what I expected. A bland set of cheap scares without any real sense of dread. Just because a movie can make you jump because you are startled by a loud noise does not make it scary. Scary is when I get home and don’t want to turn out the lights, when I say an extra little prayer to remind myself God’s got my back. None of which were the case after seeing Ouija. That being said, I was in an almost full theater surrounded by teenagers who jumped and shouted “run away” more than once. So maybe this movie just isn’t for me.
Due to its dealings with spirits, ghosts, and seances, I would not suggest this movie to teenagers or below. The truth is, the spirit world exists, and dabbling with it is not something we should be doing. Though ultimately a board game with no real power, by verbally inviting spirits (demons) into our lives we can cause unwanted issues. If you’re interested in watching this or your teenage child is, it could be a good way to talk to them about spiritual things. Just a thought.
Do you have any interest in seeing Ouija? Have you ever played one? What are your thoughts on them? Please let us know below.