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Originally published October 23, 2014 at 9:10 AM | Page modified October 23, 2014 at 9:40 AM

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‘Ouija’ calls on bland cast, makes boring moves

A movie review of “Ouija,” a dull dead-teenager horror flick based on the board game. It received one star out of four.


Tribune News Service

Movie Review ★  

‘Ouija,’ with Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca Santos, Shelley Hennig, Douglas Smith. Directed by Stiles White, from a screenplay by White and Juliet Snowden. 89 minutes. Rated PG-13 for disturbing violent content, frightening horror images, and thematic material. Several theaters.

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“Ouija” is a dead-teenager movie aimed squarely at a teen audience.

Universal’s effort to reclaim its place as the Home for Horror takes a step backward with this duller-than-dull 89 minutes of your life you’ll never get back. Frankly, the board game is scarier, but only if you break the rules.

“Never play alone ... never play in a graveyard ... always say ‘Goodbye.’ ”

As kids, Debbie (Shelley Hennig) and Laine (Olivia Cooke) knew that. But as a teen, Debbie’s picked up a board and toyed with the magical “unseen hand” planchette, with its eye hole for spying ghosts. Next thing you know, she’s hung herself.

Laine is beside herself. Well, not exactly. Cooke, the star of this cast of pretty bland young things, rarely suggests much emotion at all. And the others take their lead from her.

Laine wants some closure, so she picks up Debbie’s board, rounds up her boyfriend (Daren Kagasoff), her Goth-brat sister (Ana Coto), the dead girl’s beau (Douglas Smith) and Isabelle (Bianca Santos) for a little seance.

When they chant, “As friends we gather, hearts are true, spirits near, we call to you,” and doors creak open and chairs slide away from the table, kids being kids, they don’t take the hint.

Death and terror ensue.

The effects are generally as simple as the far superior ghost story “Annabelle,” which looks like “Psycho” when compared to “Ouija,” a cynical attempt to spend almost no money and cash in on board-game sales.

But seriously, who’d buy that game after this?



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