Film Review: The Worst Horror Film of 2014, ‘Ouija’ is ‘Mama’ From 11 Narcoleptic Producers

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Average: 1.7 (6 votes)

CHICAGO – Out of respect for the filmmakers and actors, I don’t walk out on films. I hold true to that even when I know in the first 10 minutes the film’s not for me. Perhaps the second act could surprise me. Maybe the whole film is a flop but it redeems itself with shock and awe in the last 5 minutes.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

But let’s be honest: As much as you can tell yourself you’ll walk into “Ouija” with an open mind, it’s impossible to have high hopes about this latest “horror” film in a tiresome string of formulaic attempts. You’re not expecting Oscar-caliber performances and that’s why these kinds of films can get away with casting no one you’ve ever heard of.

This time, Olivia Cooke takes center stage. You might remember her if you saw this year’s sci-fi flop “The Signal” with Laurence Fishburne. She looks like a younger Rose Byrne. Frankly she’s literally the one thing – person or otherwise – that remotely nears something that is even somewhat passable in this major bomb of an 89-minute film. Clocking in at 85 minutes too long, this simple, formulaic, safe, riskless, going-nowhere story could have been told just in 4.

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Ouija”.

In truth, 4 minutes is generous. I’ll sum it up in one paragraph that takes you 20 seconds to read.

“Hollywood newbies cast in amateur horror movie from famous producers for acting credit to build resume. No time to develop story or budget for quality filmmaking. The script has actors artificially pretending to be scared over a poor excuse for a plot device – a board game – that delivers no real fear. Furthering said weak plot device, the film will devolve yet again into ghosts from the past who desire reconciliation while offering literally not a single thing new to the genre.”

As many films don’t dare to be original and they instead often “borrow” from others, I find accidental humor in one of this story’s most ridiculous steals. Remember the 2013 film “Mama” with Jessica Chastain from the creator of “Pan’s Labyrinth,” which, by the way, I didn’t hate and I still periodically like to whisper “mama” in a creepy voice in the middle of the night? Well, “Ouija” pretty much has the same ghostly villain, but they rename her “Mother”.

“Ouija” stars Olivia Cooke, Daren Kagasoff, Ana Coto, Douglas Smith, Shelley Hennig, Sierra Heuermann and Bianca Santos from writer and director Stiles White and writer Juliet Snowden. The film is produced by Jason Blum (“Paranormal Activity,” “Insidious” and “The Purge” films), Andrew Form and Bradley Fuller (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) and Michael Bay (“Transformers” films). “Ouija” opened on Oct. 24, 2014 has a running time of 89 minutes. It is rated “PG-13” for disturbing violent content, frightening horror images and thematic material.

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Ouija”.

Shelley Hennig in Ouija
Shelley Hennig stars as Debbie in “Ouija”.
Image credit: Universal Pictures

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Ouija”.

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