“Ouija” fails to overcome its gimmicky premise

Jackson French

“Ouija” isn’t the movie your Halloween deserves. This lame and clumsy film builds a decent ghost story around a Ouija board, but its ineffective presentation is underwhelming and laughable.

There’s a lot of seemingly unintentional humor in the movie’s use of a Ouija board as a plot device. When the characters first communicate with a spirit, director Stiles White tries to wrench as much horror from the cursor moving around the board as he can. 

It doesn’t work. There’s nothing scary about a moving cursor, especially when five pairs of hands are touching it. Every time the Ouija board is awkwardly forced into the plot, all it does is suck the scares out of the scene.   


On that note, the jump scares are bland and ineffective. There are a number of moments in the movie that will make you jump, but they’re lost among the far more numerous attempts at fright that don’t work at all.

The actors don’t make things any better as they turn in half-hearted performances. Even characters this underdeveloped deserve a little more effort. 

“Ouija” isn’t terrible, especially considering the sheer absurdity of its core concept. The ghost story backdrop is actually interesting and the movie is scary at times, but forgettable characters, a hokey gimmick violently shoehorned in, lackluster execution and an absence of any sense of lingering dread suck away most of the fun. For genuine Halloween thrills, “Ouija” isn’t what you’re looking for.