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Film / Ouija

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Bad idea, kids.

"As friends we've gathered, our hearts are true. Spirits near, we call to you."

Ouija is a 2014 horror film based on the eponymous board game from Hasbro, their first foray into the horror genre following the releases of the My Little Pony and Transformers movies. The film was directed by Stiles White and co-written by him and Juliet Snowden, who had previously written The Possession together.

Laine Morris (Olivia Cooke) is called by her Childhood Friend Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig) who has something on her mind. However, when she arrives, Debbie refuses to talk and sends her away. Later that night, Debbie hangs herself; unbeknownst to anyone, she had been playing Ouija by herself, which breaks the very first rule of using a Ouija board.

After Debbie's funeral, Laine is asked to house-sit the Galardi house by Debbie's grief-stricken mom, who wants some time away from the house. She agrees and visits the house sometime after with her boyfriend Trevor. There, they find Debbie's Ouija board.

Laine wants to try making contact with Debbie as she feels guilt from not being able to help her. Gathering a group of friends comprised of herself, Trevor, her younger sister, a mutual friend, and Debbie's boyfriend, she conducts an Ouija session and try to call forth Debbie's spirit. Despite their doubts, the Ouija planchette moves and spells out answers allegedly from Debbie. As most of the team are understandably creeped out, they stop the ritual and resume their lives. But soon enough, they find mysterious occurrences happening to them...

A prequel titled Ouija: Origin of Evil was released on October 21, 2016.

This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A Minor Kidroduction: The film opens with young Debbie explaining to young Laine about the Ouija board, with young Sarah briefly interrupting them.
  • Abusive Parents: DZ and her sister Paulina claim their mother was this. They are lying.
  • Anachronism Stew: The movie's prologue has the children playing with an Ouija board dated 2013, despite the main story being stated to take place in 2014.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Laine and Trevor think of Sarah this way. While it's justified because she likes to go out late with an older guy overnight, their constant rude replies at her questions are somewhat disproportionate, especially as she's an adult already.
  • Arc Words: "Hi friend". Also, "Good bye".
  • Artistic License: Ouija actually has a whole lot of rules, not only three. One of them is exactly that you shouldn't use it in houses and places where there has been a tragic death, which is what is done in the first movie.
  • Big Bad: DZ and Paulina's mother isn't. It's DZ and Paulina themselves. The prequel elaborates that it is actually Paulina and the Demon impersonating Doris, as Doris herself has passed onto the afterlife while Paulina went insane with grief and summoned the Demon because it was the only way she could have "her sister" back.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Though despite the annoying younger sibling trope above, Laine ultimately cares for Sarah a lot. When the Ouija session goes awry and causes Sarah to freak out, the first thing that Laine does is comforting her and declaring that they will no longer play it again. Also, during the climax, when Sarah almost gets her lips sewn by Doris, Laine distracts the latter by luring her into playing Ouija, which does take some quite gut.
  • Bittersweet Ending: DZ is exorcised, but only Laine and Sarah are alive. Plus, it's implied that exorcising DZ only releases the evil spirits free, as Laine finds the Ouija planchette back inside her bedroom...
  • Bluff the Imposter: During their second ouija session with "Debbie", Pete asks if she remembers a secret date they had. When she says yes, Pete knows she's not Debbie because he made it up.
  • Childhood Friends: Laine and Debbie. It's why she takes her sudden death that much personally, after all.
  • Condensation Clue: One of the mysterious "Hi Friend" messages appears on the inside surface of a fogged-up car window.
  • Cool Old Lady: Laine and Sarah's grandmother as well as Paulina.
  • Creepy Basement: Where DZ's body is hidden by the mother. There's also a creepy attic.
  • Creepy Child: DZ, the first ghost we see, is a girl with her mouth sewn shut. Subverted when she tries to help the heroes by warning them about her mother. Then double subverted when it turns out she's the bad guy after all.
  • Creepy Twins: While the prequel confirms they weren't actually twins, DZ and Paulina looked and dressed like each other in all the photos shown in this film.
  • Creepy Good: Again, DZ. Except not. She's really evil.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Playing Ouija just because you're curious is not a good idea.
  • Demonic Possession: This is what happened to DZ, as elaborated upon in the prequel.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Or more like earn your Bittersweet Ending. The survivors had to burn both the Ouija set and DZ's body, while fighting off the malevolent spirit. And the last shot implies even that didn't work...
  • Enfante Terrible: DZ...or so it seems in the first movie. The prequel reveals that she's not a child at all, but an evil spirit who possessed the real Doris and now permanently appears in her form.
  • Evil Old Folks: Paulina.
  • Genre Blind: How Trevor dies.
  • Good All Along: DZ's mother. While her earlier action was what set off the plot in the first place, she ultimately wants the spirits not to leave the house and entice others to play with the Ouija board. Too bad Laine only learns this after she already expelled her spirit away.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: DZ is not actually the spirit of Doris, but an evil spirit who had possessed her when she was alive and now has taken her form...and the implication is that he and his spirit brethren serve a higher demonic power. And the ending indicates that they have now been set free...
  • Haunted House: The Galardis' house is where both DZ and her mother died. This is why the Ouija session goes awry: Never play in a graveyard. The prequel explains that it's even MORE haunted than the first film shows.
  • Hope Spot: The characters all are certain that the curse has been stopped once they free Doris and the film seems to go into denouement, but the audience knows that there's more, since the film has only reached about 60 minutes or so. Cue Doris appearing in Pete's room...
  • Jump Scare: This film has a generous serving of them.
  • Karma Houdini: Paulina never gets comeuppance for manipulating Laine into freeing Doris. However, she does have a breakdown when Laine goes on to sever her connection with the spirits, which might imply that she did so because she wants to be free of having to hear their voices all the time. Since the connection is severed, it seems that Paulina will be tormented by the spirits' voices for the rest of her life...
  • Kill It with Fire: To stop DZ, both the Ouija set and her body must be burned.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Both DZ and her sister, Paulina, manipulate Laine into believing that their mother was evil, when they're the ones who are. Like Sister, Like Sister.note 
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Whenever someone's being attacked/possessed by the evil spirits, their eyes turn white. It usually ends fatally.
  • Missing Mom: Laine and Sarah's mother died sometime before the events of the film.
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: Some characters get their mouth sewn shut.
  • Never Found the Body: The police never found DZ's body. It's in a hidden room below Debbie's house, which means that the entire house is a graveyard. What's rule number two?
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: This is Laine and Pete's motivations in contacting Debbie: they never got to say goodbye to their best friend/girlfriend.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Debbie, for playing the Ouija board alone in the first place.
    • Laine, while trying to figure out the why Debbie died, caused 3 more people to die. And even that doesn't seem to accomplish anything.
  • Offing the Offspring: We're told DZ and Paulina's mother killed DZ to prevent her and the spirits possessing her from terrorizing and killing others. However, the prequel reveals it was actually Paulina who did the deed.
  • Oh, Crap!: The crew learned that it was not Debbie's spirit they had conversed with.
    • Laine discovering that Paulina has manipulated her and her friends not to stop the curse, but to amplify it. Her reaction is priceless.
  • Ouija Board: The Movie.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Debbie's parents. The grief of losing her causes them to move out of their house for a while, providing an excuse for the main characters to play inside it.
  • Promotion to Parent: Laine seems to take her deceased mother's responsibility in her household. Much to Sarah's displeasure.
  • Rule of Three: There are three rules of using the Ouija board named. They're all broken.
    • Never play alone. Debbie broke this rule at least twice, which, combined with the below, led to her death.
    • Never play in a graveyard. Debbie's house is formerly the house of the Zanders. DZ was killed by her mother and left in a secret underground room, which is never accessed by the police, making the entire house a graveyard. Debbie's rounds at Ouija were played here too; combined with the above, she's essentially a dead (wo)man walking the first time she played one. Meanwhile, Laine and her friends also choose Debbie's house as their playground for Ouija, dooming them as well.
    • Always say GOODBYE when you're finished.
  • Scare Chord: Plenty of them.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Paulina killed her mother to avenge DZ's killing.
  • Sequel Hook: Though Laine already burned down the board, the planchette suddenly appears inside her bedroom. Then she looks up through it...
    • However, the film was followed by a prequel instead of a sequel, more or less rendering it Left Hanging.
  • Spooky Séance: Kind of the whole point of an Ouija board.
  • Summoning Ritual: Say an enchantment (the one on the top of this page), then circle the board as many times as there are players. Weaponized near the end of the film, when Laine compels DZ's spirit to play with her and leave Sarah alone so she can burn DZ's body.
  • Token Minority: Isabelle, a Latina. She's also the first of Laine's Ouija gang to bite the dust.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Going to a known haunted house, especially going alone, is not a smart move on Trevor's part.
    • Despite knowing the rules, the characters all break them at some point, giving more strength to the dark spirits haunting them.
  • Unexpectedly Real Magic: The premise is that a bunch of kids play a Ouija Board as a joke, only for it to turn out to really summon spirits, causing all types of hijinks.