November 9, 2014

Theatrical Review: Ouija (2014)
(aka Hasbro: The Movie.)
Release Date: October 24th.
Country: USA
Rating: PG-13
Written by: Juliet Snowden and Stiles White.
Directed by: Stiles White.
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Douglas Smith, Shelley Hennig, Robyn Lively, and Lin Shaye.

We will take no issue whatsoever with anyone who says that Ouija sucked, or that they hated it, because we can absolutely see how they would feel that way; Ouija is a restrained, generic, bore of a movie in many ways, and unless you're a teenager, it isn't particularly scary, either.

I can't explain why, but despite its glaring flaws, Ouija actually felt fairly effective to us. For the most part. It definitely lacked some bite being PG-13, but it also gave us goosebumps a few different times throughout, so what exactly are we to make of it as a whole?

I guess the best way to put it is that we've seen far Horror movies worse this year.

Ouija opens with two little girls trying to conjure Demons with a Ouija board, which ends up being too scary for them, so they stop. Flash forward 10 or so years later, and we find one of those little girls (Debbie) all grown up, and still playing with a Ouija board. Again, she gets scared, this time deciding to burn the board. Later, her eyes go white, and she hangs herself. She probably should have played Monopoly, but such is The Game of Life.

Laine (the other little girl who is now all grown up) is filled with Aggravation when she learns of her friend's apparent suicide, because  she knows that it was the Ouija board that killed her. Naturally, she decides that the best course of action would be to invite her friends over to Debbie's now-vacant house, and play with the Ouija board, even though it's a great Risk to do so. Of course her Trivial Pursuit to find a Clue about her friend's death dooms each of them to suffer Sorry!, white-eyed deaths of their own.

Supernatural shenanigans ensue.

Will anyone survive the wrath of the haunted Hasbro game? Will Laine ever find out why the Ouija board wants to kill them so bad? Will Hollywood ever release a PG-13 Horror movie that doesn't feel like it's a PG-13 Horror movie? Far be it from us to spoil anything for you here, because you should already be able to figure things out on your own, but suffice it to say that with $50 million in Worldwide Box Office, we'll probably find out more in the sequel. Hasbro wills it so.

Blumhouse Productions has been everywhere this year, producing some of the biggest genre offerings of 2014. Some have been great (Oculus, The Purge: Anarchy, The Town That Dreaded Sundown), while some have been abysmal (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Mockingbird.) Ouija falls somewhere in-between, along with other recent Blumhouse efforts like Jessabelle or Mercy; it's not terribly "bad," but it's certainly not what we'd call "good" either. Unremarkable. That's what it is.

In many ways, Ouija is the typical PG-13 Hollywood Horror movie: It's filled indiscriminately with pretty people who inhabit generic, shallow roles; the story isn't the least bit original; the scares (jump, or otherwise), are pretty standard, and not very inspiring; and from the get-go you pretty much know how it's going to end, right down to that last-minute "nothing i really over" gag... and yet it's also a comfy movie that conjures up a fairly effective atmosphere.

Yes, we were fairly creeped out a few times during Ouija, although that's probably due to the fact that we're suckers for supernatural scares, even when they happen in lackluster movies. We also dug the look of the evil spirits in this one, even if they didn't truly show up in a visual way until closer towards the end. Aesthetically, this movie was pleasing. For the most part.

The cast does a fine job with the material they're given here, especially Bates Motel's Olivia Cooke, who once again proves that she's an actress to keep an eye on. It was also fun to see Robyn Lively and Lin Shaye show up in this one, as both of them have been longtime faves of ours.

The bottom line is that we thought we'd absolutely hate Ouija, and we didn't. It gave us enough good stuff along with the bad that we ended the movie saying "that was alright." We liked it better than Annabelle, if that says anything.

Middle of the road, folks. This movie is middle of the road.

Plenty of people are going to say that we're being way too generous with our grade here, and they wouldn't be wrong to do so, but we respectfully disagree; with everything that Ouija lacks and gets wrong, it also manages to work fairly on a PG-13 level. Maybe it's more of a case of "it's really not that bad" than anything else, but we just can't get on the hate wagon for this movie... at least not 100%, we can't.

We might not recommend that you run out to the theaters to see Ouija, but you could do far worse than giving it a rent when it hits VOD in another month or two. Either way, it's not as horrible as most people would have you believe, and that's really the only point that we wanted to get across here.


Ouija is in theaters now.

Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, and Shelley Hennig bring a certain amount of sexy class to this one. Or something.


  1. picture captions on this site are the best

  2. Thanks. We actually make it a point to have fun pictures and captions... they just make reading reviews so much better.

    1. I didnt think there was a follow up to the first Hasbro joke pic, but then there was a 3rd.. i cracked up bigtime

    2. We are fools. I'll admit it lol

  3. I think junior high school girls deserve their own horror films, but it must be difficult to review them. I thought you did an admirable job, just a few additional points. These movies are so predictable. When she's dragging the Christmas tree lights behind her and then the camera shows the staircase and the hallway, I know exactly what I am going to see in a few seconds. Then the guys in these films are such wastes: the heroine goes to play Nancy Drew in the attic and the guy wanders around the house instead of going up with her in a house that a murderous spirit has alway killed two of their friends - sheesh. Finally the twist, while not a bad one, felt it was put in there because someone thought a twist was needed not because it was organic to the plot. Well onward and upward, (hopefully), to 'Housebound', 'The Ba ba Dook' and 'Late Phases'.

  4. Yeah, watching, let alone reviewing, PG-13 Horror movies like this is never easy.

    Our Babadook review is almost done, and we're watchign Housebound soon. As for Late Phases, we're dying to see that one. Nick Damici is the man!

    So definitely, onward and upward.

  5. I alway associate this movie with The Quiet Ones, not just because they're both horror movies starring the lovely Olivia Cooke, but because I honestly don't fully remember either film despite the fact that I know I watched them (hell I think I even watched them in the same night).

    That's not necessarily a criticism as I don't remember feeling either of the two films where particularly bad (not like Unfriended or worst It Follows *shutters*) but that they obviously made no lasting impression on me which is unfortunate considering I really do love Olivia Cooke, the only gem I took away from Bates Motel, and she really is a treat to watch no matter what she's in.

    She's very talented and cute and I really do enjoy her work. She was great in The Signal and honestly try as hard as you can not to fall in love with her in Me and Earl and The Dying Girl...seriously, try.

    Although I was bothered that she went topless in The Quiet Ones (despite it's perplexing PG-13 rating) because it felt shamelessly gratuitous and that never sits well with me when it comes to actresses I like.

    But overall I wish she would do better horror films or do more genre films in general like she did with The Signal, as I always welcome it. The same goes for Shelley Hennig, who really needs to redeem herself for Unfriended.

    PS I actually laughed at the Hasbro jokes, well done sir.