Ouija boards. To some they are a fond but frightening memory from childhood sleepovers. For others, they are a dangerous door to a world the living are not meant to mess with. In the first trailer for Ouija is firmly in the latter camp, offering eerie sound effects and requisite jump scares.
As you can see in the trailer up top, the story of Ouija begins with the death of a teenage girl. When her surviving friends try to reach out to her using the titular board game, they unwittingly expose themselves to a vicious supernatural presence that will haunt and horrify them…possibly to death.
I'm all for a good scary movie. Unfortunately, the trailer for Ouija doesn't have me anticipating one. Its haunting shtick seems pretty clichéd. None of the visuals seem especially creepy. But worst of all, the teens threats to quit "the game" remind me mostly of a decidedly un-scary movie:
Ouija has been a long time in coming. We first got word of the proposed pic back in the spring of 2008, when Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes announced they'd be adapting the board game. By the fall of 2010, Taken helmer Pierre Morel was being considered for Ouija's director's chair, as were Sylvain White (I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer) and Scott Charles Stewart (Legion). At that time, the production was working off a script by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, and the projected budget was a whopping $80-100 million. You don't have to be a Hollywood producer to know the expectations of this project have radically shifted since then, as the trailer up top is decidedly not for a $80 million movie.
There was a time when board game movies seemed like they might be the next big thing. Ouija, Stretch Armstrong, Clue, Candy Land and Battleship all got scooped up for development. But then Battleship tanked and studios began bailing on board game movies. Still, Ouija soldiered on through McG (This Means War) and Breck Eisner (The Crazies) consideration for the helm, through Universal killing it, then resurrecting it with a projected 2013 release date.
By the summer of 2012, the project as it was initially conceived was basically completely scrapped. Micro-budget mastermind Jason Blum was brought into produce a lean, mean and profitable bit of terror. From there, Juliet Snowden was brought in to pen a new script with The Possession co-writer Stiles White, who is making his directorial debut with this board game-based thriller. And after all this back and forth, scrapping and rebuilding, we have Ouija, a movie that looks low-budget and frightfully uninspired.
Ouija opens October 24th, 2014.