Ouija review

Hasbro's formulaic fright flick borrows from the best but still fails to scare up any fun

Following in the footsteps of Transformers, G.I. Joe and Battleship, Ouija is the latest movie based on a toy or game produced by Hasbro. Yet while those flicks have some hi-octane merits, Ouija is about as undemanding (and unoriginal) a tale as has ever been committed to film.

When her best friend Debbie (Shelley Hennig) kills herself in mysterious circumstances, Laine (Olivia Cooke) convinces her other friends to hold a seance using Debbie's ouija board to find out what happened. Of course, things don't go to plan and what follows is a hodgepodge of ideas 'borrowed' from Ringu, The Exorcist, Paranormal Activity, Final Destination and too many other films to mention.

Of course, this lack of original ideas wouldn't necessarily have been a problem if the film was actually scary. But Ouija's biggest failing is that it's so bland and uninspiring that it's less terrifying than a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Picture: You'd be hard-pushed to find fault with Ouija's AVC-encoded 2.40:1 1080p imagery. Black levels are particularly impressive, filling shots with deep, imposing shadows that threaten to unleash hidden terrors at a moment's notice. Detailing is also very strong, comfortably picking out fine textures in faces and clothing.

Away from the gloom, the hi-def transfer also excels with more vibrant colours – demonstrated by the rich saturation of the flowers on either side of the path down to the swimming pool in Chapter 6 (see above).
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: Clearly aware that watching people mucking about with a Ouija board isn't particularly cinematic, the filmmakers have gone out of their way to load the audio with loud noises and cheap scares.

While it's an obvious route to take, there's no denying that from a purely technical standpoint Ouija's DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix delivers the goods. The spacious soundstage is bursting with well-handled steering effects and imposing LFE, while dialogue is pleasingly prioritised among all of the chaos.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: Universal Pictures appears to be seriously scaling back on extra features for all but its biggest releases these days, and (despite worldwide grosses just shy of £100m) Ouija is no exception.

The Spirit Board: An Evolution (four minutes) provides a quick overview of the history of the Ouija board. Adapting the Fear (four minutes) talks to the cast and crew about making the film. Finally, Icon of the Unknown (four minutes) features more interview snippets with the cast and crew, this time discussing the game and their own experiences with it. Yawn.
Extras rating: 1/5

We say: Picture and sound quality  may be excellent, but that's still not enough to make this worth a look

Ouija, Universal Pictures, All-region BD, £25 Approx