Ouija Parent Review
I've seen some strange things happen during a prolonged game of Monopoly (money disappears and hotels magically appear), but nothing as weird as what happens when these kids play "Ouija".
It is so hard to know where to start a review for Ouija. So much to say, so little to talk about.
This lightweight PG-13 film offers a textbook example of the horror genre, complete with creaking doors, spooky attics, dark basements, lights that flicker and things that go bump in the night. You can almost tick off every element ever used to scare an audience. And it’s befittingly dark. After Universal Studios reduced their big budget for Ouija and brought in horror producer Jason Blum to finish the scaled-back project, light bulbs seem to be the first item to get axed.
The movie also appears to be the perfect pre-Christmas marketing campaign for Hasbro who bought the rights for the board game from Parker Bros. in 1991. What better way to ramp up enthusiasm for a new family activity (deemed suitable for ages 8 and up by the toy company) than to show people being attacked and killed by gruesome spirits that have their mouths stitched shut? Okay maybe this isn’t the best sales ploy ever, but you can bet it won’t stop plenty of kids from trying their hand on one of these spirit boards after seeing this film.
The story, thin as it is, centers around five teenagers whose classmate Deb (Shelley Hennig) hung herself from a chandelier with a string of Christmas lights. All of them are mourning her loss, but Deb’s best friend Laine (Olivia Cooke) is particularly upset that she didn’t get a chance to say good-bye. When she stumbles upon a Ouija board in Deb’s closet, she begs the others—Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), Isabelle (Bianca Santos) Pete (Douglas Smith) and Laine’s little sister Sarah (Ana Coto)—to help her contact the deceased.
The debate over whether Ouija is an innocent passtime or a means of divination begins as soon as the friends set down at the table in the dead girl’s house. Now I’ve seen some strange things happen during a prolonged game of Monopoly (money disappears from the bank, hotels magically appear on Park Place), but nothing as weird as what happens when these kids attempt to communicate with the dead. Messages surface in bizarre places and flossing accidents occur in the bathroom. (You may never want to floss your teeth again after seeing this movie.)
On one hand, the screenplay contains only a few profanities, a welcome lack of sexual content and alcohol, and some good jump scenes with great sound effects. Even most of the violence takes place off screen. But the noticeable absence of adults during the youths’ crisis, the startling suicide, and occult themes associated with the Ouija board will still make many parents hesitate about sending their teens off to play with this film.
Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, it is amply obvious (at least in this movie) that Ouija is not the kind of board game you want to pull out of the closet for family game night.Directed by Stiles White. Starring Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca A. Santos. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release October 24, 2014. Updated May 19, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Ouija here.
Ouija Parents Guide
If you were able, would you want to divine the future? Do you think it would make you more or less worried about events that will occur?
How do the teens cope with the death of their friend in this movie? Does the lack of family or adult support add to their feelings of grief? Why does Laine refuse to talk to the school counselor? Where can people who have lost a love one go for support? Can it be more difficult to come to grips with a sudden death or suicide?
Isabelle expresses her concerns over playing with the Ouija board and wants to leave, but is talked into staying. What is the result of her decision? How can a person excuse him or herself from a situation they don’t feel comfortable in? Is it important to recognize and react to those feelings?
In almost every horror movie, someone has to outline the “rules” for dealing with the unknown being. Who reveals the rules in this movie? Did you notice the religious icons in the background? What role does her religious beliefs appear to play in her ability to confront the undead spirits?
Learn more about the history of Ouija.