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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Ouija (Blu-ray)
Ouija (Blu-ray)
Universal // PG-13 // February 3, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted February 9, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Skip It
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

Actress Olivia Cooke revealed that the studio ordered some pretty drastic changes after seeing footage from Ouija, a film that uses the spirit board as inspiration and is exactly as bad as you think it is. Director Stiles White and company reshot 50 percent of the film, and, given the result, the original version must have been exceptionally awful. This is a film without a clearly defined villain or any vision whatsoever. I cannot believe Juliet Snowden and White's script had more than a basic outline of the plot, because Ouija is a mind-numbing trip to nowhere. The jolts are unearned and consist of the soundtrack blasting audible stingers at random. The young actors are better suited for a dialogue-free J.Crew catalogue. Ouija makes the last Hasbro board game adaption - Battleship - look like a masterpiece. On behalf of the entire Ouija team, "You're welcome, Peter Berg."

The only surprising thing in Ouija is how loud Debbie's (Shelley Hennig) neck snaps when she hangs herself in a stairwell after using a Ouija board. I thought the MPAA didn't like that kind of stuff in a PG-13? Whatever. Not five minutes into Deb's funeral afterparty, the deceased's best friend Laine (Cooke) decides there is something terribly wrong and the only way to right it is by using the Ouija board to contact the dearly departed. Laine manages to corral some other friends into a midnight seance, where some stupid ish happens. The next day, each participant sees the phrase "Hi Friend" after experiencing some spooky phenomena.

Platinum Dunes and Blumhouse Productions are really trying to screw up the good will they created with The Purge, Paranormal Activity and Insidious, imperfect films made with good intentions. Ouija is just the stupidest shit I've seen in recent memory. The first and largest problem: Watching bad actors push the planchette around a Ouija board is neither frightening nor cinematic. Spirits, demons and occult rituals are scary. TV-grade CGI blobs and the same cut-away death scenes for every character are not. What does Blaine see through the looking glass? A girl with a sewn-up mouth and her shrieking mother. I saw The Ring in 2002 and it did not suck.

This 89-minute gem somehow manages to pack four hours of unnecessary exposition into the show, and poor Cooke gets to play Nancy Drew at a mental asylum, where she meets a character apparently beefed up in reshoots. That woman is played by Lin Shaye, who I hope to God at least bought herself a new car after taking bit parts in all these awful horror films. The climax rips off The Conjuring but makes absolutely no sense. That's what happens when you create a villain out of thin air at the last possible moment. This is not a film. This is a joke that $97.7-million worth of moviegoers' dollars fell for.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

At least Universal gives this junker a nice 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer. Since I threw Stiles under the bus I'll at least note that he shot a decent looking film, and the image has excellent black levels and shadow detail. Black crush is present where intended, and fine-object detail is strong. Skin tones are natural and colors nicely saturated. I noticed no aliasing or compression artifacts.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is decent but not quite as immersive as I hoped. The sound design is partly to blame, since it mostly blasts random noise and musical stingers to scare the audience. Dialogue is clear and balanced appropriately with effects and score. Some ambient effects come through the surrounds, and the LFE supports the action chaos. French and Spanish 5.1 DTS tracks are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subs.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

That girl on the slipcover? Not in the movie... This "combo pack" includes four ways to watch this travesty: Blu-ray, DVD, iTunes digital copy or UltraViolet digital copy. Why would you want to explore the extras? They are brief and shallow. You get The Spirit Board: An Evolution (4:07/HD); Adapting the Fear (3:45/HD); and Icon of the Unknown (4:00/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

GAME OVER! See what I did there? It doesn't even make sense. Is a Ouija board even a game? This movie is terrible. Skip It.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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