I’ve always heard that you need to be careful when using a Ouija board.  Assuming you make contact with someone, it likely won’t be the person you were actually trying to reach, rather it could be someone pretending to be them.  You wouldn’t just dial up a random phone number and expect to get grandma, would you?  At least over the phone you can tell that the heavy breather on the other end doesn’t sound like her.  How are you supposed to know that you’ve gotten a faker with a Ouija board?  Realize that grandma wasn’t this good at spelling?

That’s essentially the premise behind the new Universal Pictures movie,

Ouija based on the game by Hasbro – which by the way is appropriate for ages 10+ (don’t you dare contact the dead if you’re 9).  Following a friend’s mysterious death, a group of teens decide to use a board to make contact and get answers.  Shortly after using it for the first time, the teens find themselves stalked in a particularly creepy and jump scare-worthy fashion.  For some reason, the teens think this is actually their dear friend trying to reach them, despite the fact that their encounters are scaring the crap out of them.  To all of my friends or loved ones – if you pass on and want to contact me from the other side, please just send me an email.  Or an edible arrangement.  Something non-threatening would be appreciated.

From there, our plucky group of teens look to unravel the mystery behind who they’re actually talking to, and how it all links to the death of their friend.

Ouija had its audience squirming in their seats in anticipation, jumping at the right places, and then laughing/groaning at their poorly controlled reactions (myself included…  I knew the scares were coming and I still jumped).  At a quick 89-minutes, the movie never drags and has the traditional horror bad judgment necessary to move the plot.  At one point, a character in the movie asked, “What should we do?”  During our screening, the woman next to me responded to that question with “Run, fool!”  That would have been the right answer, but in the movie they just used the Ouija board some more… which I suppose makes for a scarier and longer movie.

Is Ouija going to freak me out and make me turn on a night light tonight?  Nah.  But is it a movie to get you into the Halloween spirit with some solid jump scares that will have you grabbing the arm of the person next to you?  You bet.  Just make sure to introduce yourself first.

Ouija opens Friday October 24th.

A Connoisseur's Compendium of Haunted House Reviews, Victorian Horror, and All Things Dark and Macabre.