Ouija is a 2014 American supernatural horror film directed by Stiles White in his directorial debut. It was written by Juliet Snowden and White (who previously together wrote The Possession), starring Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, and Bianca Santos.
It was released on October 24, 2014 and was produced by Platinum Dunes, Blumhouse Productions and Hasbro. Despite receiving negative reviews, the film was a box office success, grossing over $103 million on a $5 million budget.
| Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
Young Debbie Galardi (Claire Beale) and Laine Morris (Afra Sophia Tully) play with a Ouija board in a flashback where Debbie tells Laine the rules of the board, the most important being not to play alone.
Years later, a visibly unnerved Debbie (Shelley Hennig) is shown tossing a Ouija board into a fire after saying "goodbye". She declines Laine's (Olivia Cooke) invitation to watch a school basketball match, preferring to be left alone, while also sharing a story about how she discovered a Ouija board in her home and used it.
When she gets back inside, she finds that the Ouija board has mysteriously materialized back in her bed. Debbie is subsequently possessed and forced to hang herself using a set of fairy lights.
Grieving over Debbie's death, Laine suspects that her suicide might have something to do with the Ouija board and decides to use it, enlisting the help of her boyfriend, Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), their waitress friend, Isabelle (Bianca Santos) and Laine's rebellious younger sister, Sarah (Ana Coto).
Laine chooses to do the séance inside Debbie's house which she is temporarily babysitting while Debbie's parents are grieving elsewhere. The teens are joined by Debbie's boyfriend, Pete (Douglas Smith). The five contact a spirit with the initial "D", whom they assume is Debbie and who spells out "HI FRIEND" to them.
After Laine and Pete exchange emotional goodbyes to Debbie, the lights turn off. Laine and Trevor discover the stove-top burner turning on by itself, while Pete is pushed to break a mirror by an unseen force. The five leave disturbed but happy that they have finally said goodbye to Debbie.
However, the five begin to feel haunted when they encounter "HI FRIEND" written in various places. During their second séance, the five are horrified when they find out that they have never contacted with Debbie, but instead with a spirit called "DZ", whom Debbie once contacted. She spells out "RUN" and "MOTHER'S COMING" on the board.
Looking through the glass window on the planchette, Laine sees DZ (Sierra Heuermann) with her mouth sewn shut and a woman with black eyes and a gaping mouth (Claudia Katz) running towards her. The group decides to stop using the board.
Through a series of video tapes, Laine finds out that Debbie had broken a cardinal rule in playing the Ouija board: never to play alone. She also discovers through the videos that Debbie found the board in her attic.
The same night, Isabelle is killed when she becomes possessed while drawing a bath, is levitated into the air and then dropped, smashing her head on the corner of the bathroom sink. Devastated and desperate for answers, Laine informs Trevor of Debbie's video diaries, but Trevor brushes Laine off out of anger. He tells Laine that "it's coming for all of us, so who's next?"
With no one left to turn to, Laine enlists Pete's help to search the attic where Debbie found the Ouija board. The two discover several photos that point to the house's previous owner: a woman and her two daughters. One of the daughters, Doris Zande disappeared in the house with her mother being the prime suspect, while the other, Paulina was sent to a mental institution after killing her mother weeks later.
Meeting with Paulina (Lin Shaye), Laine learns that Paulina's mother conducted séances and had used Doris as a medium for the spirits to inhabit. However, she slowly went mad and killed Doris, but not before she sewed her mouth to stop the spirits from talking any further.
To save her life, Laine must cut open the sewing in Doris, whose body is stored in a secret room in Debbie's house. Facing challenges from Doris' mother, Laine nevertheless manages to cut open the sewing, setting Doris' spirit free.
However, when Pete is possessed and killed by Doris, Laine learns that Paulina has manipulated her into cutting the sewing as Paulina is secretly in league with Doris; the true danger is Doris, not her mother, who only wanted to prevent anyone from using the Ouija board. Doris' spirit is now entirely free.
Laine resorts to the advice of her grandmother, Nona (Vivis Colombetti), instead, who tells her that she must sever the ties she has made to Doris by burning her body and the Ouija board. She goes to Debbie's house with Sarah and Trevor, but Trevor is lured and drowned in the house pool by Doris.
The two sisters are separated by Doris, and Sarah is almost killed until Laine resorts to playing the Ouija board alone to lure Doris into also playing it. She is about to be possessed by Doris, but Debbie's spirit appears to stop the possession.
During the distraction, Sarah manages to throw Doris' body into the furnace, followed by Laine tossing the Ouija board into it, finally defeating Doris. Back at home, Laine finds that the planchette has manifested back in her room. The film ends with Laine looking through the glass window in the planchette.
- Olivia Cooke as Laine Morris
- Afra Sophia Tully as young Laine
- Ana Coto as Sarah Morris
- Izzie Galanti as young Sarah
- Daren Kagasoff as Trevor
- Bianca Santos as Isabelle
- Douglas Smith as Pete
- Shelley Hennig as Debbie Galardi
- Claire Beale as young Debbie
- Sierra Heuermann as Doris Zander
- Sunny May Allison as young Doris
- Lin Shaye as Paulina Zander
- Claudia Katz Minnick as Mother
- Vivis Colombetti as Nona
- Robyn Lively as Mrs. Galardi
- Matthew Settle as Anthony Morris
"Ouija" was announced in May 2008 with Universal attached At one point in 2011, Universal dropped out due to budgetary concerns. Following this, it was subsequently announced that the film would be produced at a lower budget and Universal subsequently rejoined the project.
The casting was announced in November and December 2013.
Principal photography began at mid-December 2013 and wrapped at the end of January 2014 in and around Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA.
Although shooting officially wrapped in January 2014, poor test screenings resulted in re-shoots occurring in June which (according to Olivia Cooke) resulted in half the film being re-shot.
With the reshoots, Lin Shaye was added to the film to play a newly written character, Erin Moriarty's character was removed from the film entirely & new plot points were added or changed entirely.
The most notable of changes included the character of Doris Zander's physical appearance changing from that of a burnt looking girl to a rotting, decomposing girl with stitches in her mouth.
The setting for a mental asylum in the film coincidentally happened to be the same setting used on the MTV TV series "Teen Wolf" (which also stars Shelley Hennig).
On October 24, 2014, Universal released "Ouija" in the United States. A tie-in novelization for the film by Katharine Turner was released on September 16, 2014
In North America, "Ouija" was released to 2,858 theatres and earned $19,875,995 on its opening weekend (including its $911,000 gross on Thursday preview nights and $8.3 million on its opening day). at an average of $7,000 per theatre, debuting at number one at the box office ahead of newly released John Wick ($14.2 million).
The film played 75% under-25 years old and 61% female on its opening weekend.
"Ouija" was released in five international markets and earned $1.3 million from 234 screens. The film went to number two in Malaysia ($545,000), number four in Taiwan ($331,000), number two in Singapore ($238,000) and also number four in Poland ($137,000).
During its second weekend the film earned $5.7 million from 1,166 screens in 19 territories for a two weekend international total of $7.7 million. It went to number one in the UK, Indonesia and the Philippines.
In the UK, the film earned $2.2 million on its opening weekend, which is the second biggest opening weekend for a horror film in 2014 only behind Annabelle ($3.1 million).
Domestically, "Ouija" made a total of $50,856,010 and $52,618,000 overseas, for a worldwide total of $103,474,010.
"Ouija" was panned by critics.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 7% (based on reviews from 76 critics) with an average score of 3.3/10. The site's consensus states: "Slowly, steadily, although no one seems to be moving it in that direction, the Ouija planchette points to NO."
Metacritic (another review aggregator) gave the film a weighted average score of 38 out of 100, based on reviews from 22 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a "C" grade.
Ben Kenigsberg from the New York Times said, "What “Ouija” lacks in wit and originality, it makes up in volume."
Marc Savlov from the Austin Chronicle gave the film a one-in-a-half star rating, saying, "There’s nary a chill or shock cut in the film that isn’t grafted from some other relatively recent fright flick, and while the cast is uniformly game for the barely-there storyline, they’re also as generically high school as you might imagine."
Throughout January 2015, reports of a sequel for "Ouija" were announced. In February 2015, it was confirmed the film was in development and had no release date; Jason Blum stated "We're a ways away ..."
In April 2015, it was announced that the prequel would be released on October 21, 2016. Mike Flanagan will direct and co-write the sequel with his Oculus co-writer Jeff Howard.
The film will be produced by Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, Andrew Form, Jason Blum, Brian Goldner, and Stephen Davis. Annalise Basso and Kaylee Procter will star in the sequel. Instead, Ouija: Origin of Evil will serve as a sequel to the first film.