ByPaul Donovan, writer at
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at
Paul Donovan

In 2014, Ouija was released. It was a horror movie based on the classic board game where you "talk to spirits". It had two successful weekends, enough to make a profit. But then everybody hated it. As of this writing, Ouija has a 7% critic approval and a 25% audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes.

But why would so many people hate it? People have said it's a good movie to show people as a lesson in how not to make a horror movie. So I watched it to see why people would dislike it so much.

I have to say, I agree with the bad reviews.

It Doesn't Seem Like Anybody Tried to Make it Good

This is just another lazy, uninspired jump flick. Nobody behind or in front of the screen seems like they actually care what's going on. In fact, I finished seeing it 30 minutes ago, but I have to hurry up and write these article because I'm already forgetting it.

It's a Cash Grab

It's painfully obvious how this movie was made: The producers got together and said, "We need to get some Halloween dollars from the kids. Let's make a movie about that toy, the Ouija board. It hasn't been the subject of a major Hollywood movie since Witchboard back in `86, so kids today will think it's fresh. Who has the rights to the Ouija board now? Hasbro? The Transformers people? Ok, somebody call them."

It's Generic

So that's what we have: a generically random script with generically attractive actors who wander around getting scared (and sometimes killed). When the "plot" needs to move along, a prop or character will suddenly appear and provide enough information for everyone to move to the next period of wandering around and getting scared. Oh, and every cool horror movie these days needs a creepy doll.

The Story is Super Dumb

If you really need to know the plot, it's about a girl that kills herself after playing with the Ouija board. Her best friends think it's a good idea to find out what happened - by using the same Ouija board.

The Evil Spirit is Ridiculous

This is the first horror movie I've seen where the evil spirit tries to be scary by writing "Hi friend" everywhere. And it can't even spell.

The Characters are Stereotypes of Stereotypes

I know characters in horror movies are supposed to make stupid decisions. That's part of the genre. But the characters in this movie make so many stupid decisions that my eyes started to hurt from rolling them too much. But I am probably not the only one. Oh, not to mention, the actors look a little too old to play high school kids.

The 'Scares' are Cheap

News flash, Hollywood: making people jump doesn't mean you made a horror movie. I can suddenly scream `Boo!' in front of a friend to make him jump. That doesn't mean I just made a horror movie. Even if I charge him for it.

The Movie Admits Ouija Boards Aren't Real

What's funny is that a small scene actually explains how the Ouija board works - the ideomotor effect. The movie debunks itself. Then it goes on to pretend it's real anyway.

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image from

There are a few individually interesting scenes that prevent it from being the worst movie of the year, but it's definitely not good. If you're desperate to throw your money at a horror movie, then I'm not going to stop you. Otherwise, go buy your own Ouija board from the toy store, get stoned, and scare yourself instead.

Here's the trailer. Even it is forgettable.


What did you think of 'Ouija'?


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