OUIJA: BLOOD RITUAL – Film Review

The footage of three filmmakers shooting a web series has been recovered. Intending to debunk famous Internet urban legends and rituals, they perform a blood ritual that summons an ancient primordial entity in the process. As the spirit’s unstoppable evil seeps into their daily lives the trio is left with a single choice: Submit to its will – or die.

No, Dustin Mills’ Ouija: Blood Ritual is not the next chapter in the commercially successful series of Ouija films, although it definitely feels like it could be one. But that’s not a good thing. The original film, which was released in 2014, was extremely profitable but it was panned almost universally by critics. Even a lot of the audience members that did go out to see it thought it was awful and wished they could have gotten their money back.

With that being said though, they did release a follow-up film two years later with the subtitle Origin of Evil which was ten times better. It’s a throwback to classic horror and actually has a hint of The Conjuring in there. Nevertheless, though, the Ouija series is one that not a lot of people are too fond of. I wasn’t a fan of the first at all, but somehow, this unrelated film with the subtitle Blood Ritual just so happens to be the worst film I have seen where the main plot revolves around a Ouija board.

Within the opening scene alone, the filmmakers use the tried-and-true, usually stale technique of putting text on the screen that says something along the lines of “The following video was recovered from *blank’s* cellphone. It has not been altered. The footage you are about to see is directly from their phone”. It’s a tactic that was popularized heavily with 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, but in recent years, it has worn off and now whenever I see something like that happen in a movie, oftentimes I just roll my eyes. Director Dustin Mills probably included this in his movie because he wanted it to come across as creepy and mysterious, but it fell flat.

Rob Grant (left) as Rob and Kayla Elizabeth (right) as Kayla in Ouija: Blood Ritual (2020).

But easily the biggest problem with Ouija: Blood Ritual is its story and acting. In this film, we follow three filmmakers who are creating their own web series where they discuss and try to debunk popular urban legends and creepypastas on the internet. Familiar? Sure. But if done right, it actually could be a fun and interesting twist on the subject matter. Instead though, the script is chalked full of needlessly long scenes that lead absolutely nowhere. It’s a movie that’s only seventy-seven minutes in length, yet for whatever reason, more than half of that running time is eaten up by just watching these filmmakers goof around with one another.

For a film that mentions a Ouija board in the title, you’d probably expect it to be quite eventful and scary, but that’s not the case at all here. It’s obvious that the film has an extremely low-budget and that’s respectable. Most filmmakers simply do not have the massive budgets that many Hollywood horror movies have these days, and so you have to use whatever money you have to create your film. However, this causes a lot of problems when it comes to the actual “scary” scenes. They look incredibly cheap and unconvincing which is unfortunate because it’s something that Mills more than likely couldn’t have fixed. I’m sure he did the best with what he had.

Sadly though, this is still not a good movie by any means. It’s hard not to watch this film and constantly notice how, if they changed certain elements, it could have been ten times better. It’s ultimately a painfully boring, often unintentionally funny mess of a horror film.

Ouija: Blood Ritual is an uneventful and massively unscary found-footage style horror film with a recycled story and weak acting.

Overall Grade: F

MPAA Rating: N/A

Cast: Kayla Elizabeth, Dustin Mills, Rob Grant, Brandon Salkil, Cash K. Allen, Kenzie Phillips, Al Rios-Hannon, Gabriel Rios-Hannon, Melissa Sue Zahs

Directed by: Dustin Mills

Distributed by: Phantom Pain Films

Release Date: June 5, 2020

Running Time: 77 minutes

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