Ouija Blu-ray Review
When confronted with your best friend’s death, shortly after she began acting strangely and referencing a Ouija board she found… what would you do? If you were the star of an awful horror movie, the first thought you’d have would probably be the opposite of your answer – of course, you would go find the Ouija board and you would use it to connect with your friend who just died. Because everyone does that, right? Don’t you think you would do that? No? But it is exactly what you expect from a horror movie, isn’t it?
OUIJA is the story of a young woman who’s best friend is suddenly acting very strange. She admits to having discovered a Ouija-board inside her house and playing with it but something is off. In the next scene, something happens to our would-be heroine and she suddenly appears to commit suicide… but did she really do it or did someone, or something, make her do it? A few days later her best friend is house sitting the house where her friend just died (of course? Wouldn’t you do that?). So she decides, naturally, to use the board to try to find out why her friend died… and so she sets into motion the potential deaths of the rest of her friends.
OUIJA is the type of horror movie that goes exactly where you expect without deviation. From the opening moments when we see two young girls playing with a child’s toy Ouija board, to the culmination of the first act of the film when we’re introduced to essentially the entire cast as they all decide to engage in this brilliant plan, OUIJA lacks surprise and, more importantly (and resulting in a lesser film) it lacks a single original thought. I guess that’s what happens when a movie is based on a board game.
Speaking of which, the Blu-ray features a couple of really amazing special features on the origin of this spirit board, which would have been a thousand-times more interesting than this garbage. The board was originally brought about by the need to connect with loved ones who were lost in tragic circumstances, and interestingly the board game, how it is currently categorized, peaks in sales after a major conflict (i.e. the Civil War, etc.).
I suppose the concept of basing a movie on a game doesn’t seem that strange in our world now where studios see ‘synergy’ everywhere around them instead of realizing they’re just re-casing and selling the same movie we saw last year at the same time. OUIJA is the worst of these types of films because it hints that it might be something more, but only for a moment, and then it completely bails on all good and interesting storylines. I don’t know if the filmmakers knew that they were making a movie with exactly zero staying power but I doubt it, the movie feels a bit too smug for that.
The one positive of the film is the special effects, almost entirely done practically (i.e. without computer generated images) and, for that, the movie feels a LOT more like the type of thing I would generally really enjoy. Those moments, when OUIJA allows itself to have a moment of pure joyous filmmaking, those are the times when OUIJA almost works. Sadly, they’re too few and far between to engage the audience in anything other than a casual manner.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) The video presentation for OUIJA is fine but nothing too incredible.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio quality on OUIJA is appropriately immersive though a little bit over the top a few too many times.
The Spirit Board: An Evolution (04:07) The origins of the spirit board, the Ouija (upon which OUIJA was based), are discussed in this short special feature. This is by far the most interesting feature on the disc.
Adapting the Fear (03:45) This special feature, a nice addition to OUIJA, focuses on the actors and their work within the house where the majority of the film was made. The practical effects are some of the best moments in the film.
Icon of the Unknown (04:00) Another semi-educational special feature, this one again focuses on the Ouija-board. Pretty good addition for the OUIJA Blu-ray but more than a little too short.