“Ouija,” the latest Hollywood production inspired by a board game, hits theaters this weekend, and like board game adaptation “Battleship,” critics hate it.
The PG-13 horror movie from Universal Pictures and toy company Hasbro is being bashed by critics left and right, with only a 9 percent “rotten” approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Although TheWrap‘s Alonso Duralde considered “a handful of creepy scenes and at least one decent surprise” enough for its target teen audience to enjoy, the majority of film critics could not give it a pass for pandering to tween expectations.
In fact, the scariest thing about “Ouija” seems to be its odds of attracting more viewers than critically acclaimed films like “Fury,” “Birdman,” “John Wick” and “The Book of Life” in theaters.
If you care about the horror genre, consider this a public service announcement. Here are 10 of the best of the worst reviews for this wannabe scary movie about a gang of high schoolers playing with ghosts:
USA Today critic Claudia Puig:
“Nothing very spirited happens in ‘Ouija,’ a deadly dull and overly familiar movie about summoning ghosts that draws upon nearly every horror movie cliché. Even if the Ouija board accessory is shoehorned into the picture, you’ve seen this movie before. Many times.”
Toronto Star critic Linda Barnard:
“What to say about board game-inspired horror movie ‘Ouija’? The heart-shaped planchette, guided by the spirits of movie lovers, skitters frantically between ‘No’ and ‘Goodbye.’ It’s a bloodless and not very scary teen screamer carefully engineered to help empty wallets of babysitting money through Halloween.
St. Louis Post Dispatch critic Kevin C. Johnson:
“‘Ouija’ is bland, safe horror for those who like their scares nonexistent. And what’s the point of that? If the real thought behind “Ouija” is to revive interest in the old board game just in time for a splashy holiday season reboot, that’s just as laughable as the movie itself.”
Slant critic Eric Henderson:
“Lacking even the sophistication of a second-rate episode of HBO’s ‘Tales from the Crypt’ (or, hell, even the “best” segment of ‘Creepshow 3’), ‘Ouija’ consistently settles for the cheapest shock devices and the most shopworn totems of our current neo-gothic moment in the genre.”
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IGN critic Jim Vejvoda:
“Teens doing unwise things? Check. Murder house? Check. Dire warnings from old people? Check. Creepy mental patient? Check. The story — co-scripted by Stiles White and Juliet Snowden — is derivative, predictable, populated by stock and underdeveloped characters, and with occasional laughably bad dialogue. ”
Metro Critic Matt Prigge:
“It’s a lazy shocker that would ordinarily be buried around page 10 of Netflix Instant’s horror section, accidentally released into multiplexes because of one fit of corporate synergy. The only scary thing will be if viewers turn it into an annual franchise despite how little effort has gone into it. ‘Ouija’ barely has enough for one entry let alone more.”
CinemaBlend critic Kristy Puchko:
“[The characters’] stupidity becomes so outlandish that it not only kills audience empathy and snuffs out suspension of disbelief, it had me actively rooting for these dummies to die. Or the movie to just end. Whichever. But wouldn’t you know? Even these inevitable death scenes are let downs, offering little that is innovative or even logical. ”
A.V. Club critic Katie Rife:
“The story is formulaic to the point of laziness, with events unfolding seemingly because that’s what’s supposed to happen in a horror movie. This results in huge narrative leaps, unresolved plot points, and baffling character arcs.”
JoBlo critic Chris Bumbray:
“This is an easy pass, with you better off just picking a random horror movie from the dozens of lower-key ones that have hit Netflix or VOD over the last few months. It’s a shame. With Halloween just around the corner, the time is right for a good horror movie, but this sure as hell ain’t it.”
New York Times critic Ben Kenigsberg:
“The closing credits announce that ‘Ouija’ is ‘based on the Hasbro game,’ but unlike a movie ticket, a board game can easily be returned.”