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With: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca A. Santos, Douglas Smith, Shelley Hennig, Lin Shaye
Written by: Stiles White, Juliet Snowden
Directed by: Stiles White
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing violent content, frightening horror images, and thematic material
Running Time: 89
Date: 10/24/2014

Ouija (2014)

1 Star (out of 4)

'Ouija' Bored

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Unlike the cheesy Witchboard movies of the 1980s and 1990s, Ouija is the official movie of the Hasbro board game.

Teen Debbie (Shelley Hennig) has been acting odd lately, and she won't even let her best friend Laine (Olivia Cooke) into her house. Suddenly Debbie turns up dead, and Laine decides to investigate via the Ouija Board she finds in Debbie's room. She gathers her friends, and they connect with an entity from the other side. But strange things begin to happen and her friends begin dying. After snooping in the attic where the board was found, Laine finds clues to its past and what might have happened. She gets further information from a mysterious woman (Lin Shaye) in an asylum. But the real danger has yet to begin.

Co-produced by Michael Bay, the movie offers up all the textbook scares, such as sudden loud noises and jump shocks, ghosts opening up their mouths unnaturally wide and screaming and rushing toward the camera, and mysterious figures standing and facing a wall. Some of this stuff is still effective, which is why it has been copied, and it can generate some chills.

But none of it matters when the story, characters, acting, and dialogue are so poor. (Some of the dialogue is practically Ed Wood-ian.) Plus, for some reason all the grown-ups go away on long trips just as everything begins. The teen actors look like they mistakenly came from modeling school rather than acting school. They're highly attractive, but barely even mobile; they mostly pose and pout. Their behavior makes little sense (why does one teen ride his bike into a dark tunnel?), and the plot twists are lazy and formulaic. Only Lin Shaye as a crazy old lady offers up a spark of fun.

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