Ouija October’s only OK horror movie

The first known Ouija boards date back to 11th-12th century China. They were outlawed by the Qing Dynasty, but the practice spread across India and into the Roman and Greek empires and has remained to this day. The word “Ouija” was coined in 1901 by a man named William Fuld who started selling them as toys. His estate sold the business to the Parker Brothers in 1966, which sold it to Hasbro in 1991. Photo courtesy Universal Pictures.

How does Hasbro — Hasbro! — have a successful line of movies?

An obviously haunted Ouija board appears in Debbie’s (Shelly Henning) house. Weird stuff happens and she ends up dead. Her best friend, boyfriend and assorted others find the same board and the pattern repeats. The group stumbles around the edges of the decades-old mystery of the family that used to live in the house and the horrors they summoned into it.

The most bizarre thing about Ouija is that it’s kind of good. All the fundamentals of a good ghost story, a past of violence cropping up in a present of uncertainty, are in place.

Hasbro started its largely awful series of movies on an even more positive note with 2007’s excellent Transformers. Ouija again proves that there are good, creative movies to be made here. It’s too bad that someone called in sick for Battleship. And the entire G.I. Joe series. And the Transformers sequels.

Ouija is one of just two horror movies coming out this Halloween season, and it is the far superior one. That’s not saying much, and it will surely fade into the annals of horror history without a fuss, but at this moment — and by this moment I mean the next week or so — Ouija is a good, enjoyable movie.

Ouija will be released Oct. 24.

Joshua Knopp is a formerly professional film critic, licensed massage therapist, journalism and film student at the University of North Texas and news editor for the NT Daily. I’ve had a change of heart about reader input. It is now welcomed and encouraged. Like Reel Entropy on Facebook, follow it on Twitter when I can be bothered to make one, and shoot questions to reelentropy@gmail.com.

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